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  • 1. Academic Computing at Cornell University: Creating an Effective Public and Personal Academic Computing Environment Last edit:
  • 2. Thursday, May 20, 2010Table of Contents: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:.......................................................................................3 COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP:...............................................................................6 METHODOLOGIES:...............................................................................................7 THE CURRENT SITUATION:.................................................................................9 The Cornell Public Computing Landscape: Fall 2002................................................................................9 Other Cornell Landscape considerations (2002):......................................................................................11 Current Usage of the CIT Labs: .................................................................................................................13 Current Academic Computing News..........................................................................................................14 THE NEXT 5 YEARS: ..........................................................................................17 Expected Changes at Cornell.......................................................................................................................17 Expected Changes in Academic Computing..............................................................................................18 ANALYSIS:...........................................................................................................21 Based on this Strategic Plan, Re-Examine the current Suite of Services:...............................................30 The Kiosk Situation:..................................................................................................................................33 The Need for Increased Collaborative Resources:.....................................................................................34 The Need for Increased Access to High-end Equipment:..........................................................................36 The Mix, Size, and Layout of Instructional and General Labs:.................................................................39 Computer Training Labs:............................................................................................................................42 OIT/CIT Leadership:...................................................................................................................................43
  • 3. Executive Summary: I think that we are at the cusp of a real change both culturally and societally. This is not just a technology change; the Net is not just a telephone system that talks to computers, nor is it just something that works better than the phone system. We are using communication networks that are fundamentally different from any other communication systems that we have ever had before: they connect groups and social structures. This is something that we don't understand and exploit. But it is worth trying to think about and understand. That is what the next five years is all about. Bringing communications to the world. Andrew Lippman, founding associate director of MIT's Media Laboratory http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6073 This article originally appeared in the 2/1/2002 Issue of Syllabus After carefully examining the issues and considering several different options, it is the opinion of the Committee that CIT should strongly consider the following initiatives: • CIT must take a more active role in providing leadership and coordination for public academic computing. Specific initiatives should include the formation of a Public Computing Roundtable to improve communication and coordination of public computing among the several units, and improved support for common computer lab support systems and software. • A strategic plan for public academic computing must be implemented. The committee recommends a plan that will enable and encourage student ownership and use of portable computers for routine personal and academic computing needs1. Improvements and projects that we feel are needed in order to accomplish this include: o RedRover access from most or all central campus locations o Recommended laptop computer systems o On-campus service and support for recommended laptop systems o Secure server-based storage for student files and data o Improved access to academic software via application server solutions o Secure temporary storage spaces for valuables such as laptops • With this strategic plan in mind, re-evaluation of current CIT lab services to ensure proper alignment with current and future goals: o Mac vs. PC ratio o The Kiosk situation o The need for increased collaborative resources. o The need for increased access to high-end equipment. o The software that CIT provides. 1 See ?? for a detailed description of the committee’s strategic plan.
  • 4. o The mix, size, and layout of instructional and general labs. • A strategic plan for non-academic computer training must be created in order to relieve the non-academic load on the CIT Labs. This plan must include at least 2 on-campus training spaces, or recommended off-campus resources along with clear guidelines regarding the appropriate use of the CIT academic labs. http://www.center.rpi.edu/PewGrant/Rd1intro.html Institutional Readiness Criteria #3. The institution's goal must be to integrate computing throughout the campus culture. Unlike institutions that have established "initiatives" without specific milestones, computing-intensive campuses know the numbers. They know the level of availability of network access and the level of personal computer ownership (or availability) for students and faculty on their campuses because their goal is saturation, and the numbers tell them how close they are to achieving that goal. Ubiquitous networked computing is a prerequisite to achieving a return on institutional investment. Until all members of the campus community have full access to IT resources, it is difficult to implement significant redesign projects. As they ramped up, two of the projects encountered problems in providing adequate laboratory classroom space and equipment to offer the course in the redesigned format. In both cases, computer lab space on campus was scarce. The institutions involved view these problems as temporary and see three solutions on the horizon: 1) constructing more smart classrooms, 2) adopting wireless solutions in which students bring laptops to traditional classrooms, and 3) using lab facilities in campus housing sites that have experienced a decline in demand as more students bring their own PCs to campus.
  • 5. Introduction: The CIT Public Computing Labs have been supplying computing resources to the Cornell community for several years. The original labs consisted of dumb terminals connected to the Cornell mainframe systems. As time passed and computing technology advanced, the labs evolved to include first a mix of dumb terminals and Macintosh computers, and later to the current mix of Macs and PC systems. In 1993, the labs supported 7 computer labs (Upson, Carpenter, the Computer Science Unix Lab, Sibley, Uris Library Tower room, MVR, and Uris hall), providing approximately 205 computers, and employed 9 full time staff members. By the fall of 2001, the number of labs had increased to 15, and 14 unique Bear Access Kiosk locations had been added. Combined, the labs, kiosks, and training facilities provided approximately 432 computers supported by 5 full time staff. 364 of those systems were available for public use, with the remaining 69 systems in facilities reserved for training. In addition to the CIT labs more than doubling in size during this interval, several other units, departments, and colleges on campus had added new labs or enlarged existing labs of their own. This resulted in over 462 departmental computer systems that were freely available for anyone to use, bringing the total to over 826 fully public computers on the Cornell campus. At least another 519 systems were available on a limited basis depending on the users’ affiliations2. Despite this growth in available systems, the CIT labs continue to be extremely busy during peak times, with students waiting in line for the next available system3, and demand for 24-hour computing has continued to grow4. Instructional requests have also continued to increase in number and in complexity. The CIT labs experienced an 11% increase in the number of class sessions and a 12% increase in the number of class hours in Fiscal Year 2002 over the previous year. The first quarter of FY03 saw a 94% increase in class sessions, and a 27% increase in class hours over the expected demand5. In light of the economic downturn and workforce planning efforts, it now seems to be an appropriate time to perform a thoughtful review of the future requirements for public computing as we look forward to the next decade. To that end, a committee of students, faculty, and technologists has been formed to analyze the relevant issues and produce this white paper describing the issues, options, and recommendations that should define the future of public computing spaces at Cornell. 2 See Appendix IV for details on all of the public computing resources identified. 3 See Appendix X- Labs Headcount data and Appendices IV, VI, and VII for details. 4 See Appendices IV, VI, and VII – Focus Group transcripts, and survey responses for full text of the comments. 5 See Appendix IX for class data from FY01, FY02, FY03Q1, and FY03Q2
  • 6. Committee Membership: The committee members recruited for this effort were chosen to represent several different campus constituencies, while also attempting to keep the overall size of the committee at a reasonable number. Committee membership included: Name E-mail address Campus Address Affiliation Greg Bronson gb47@cornell.edu 220 V CCC CIT Classroom Technologies Preston Clark pac2@cornell.edu 331 Statler Hall Hotel School Sunny Donenfeld sd94@cornell.edu 1140 N. Balch Hall Campus Life Eric Gilje epg7@cornell.edu Student Assembly Oliver Habicht oh10@cornell.edu 107 Olin Library Libraries Scott Marsh sm64@cornell.edu 357 Pine Tree Rd. Communications and Marketing Services David Schwartz dis@cs.cornell.edu 5137 Upson Hall Computer Science Terry Thomas tlh1@cornell.edu 142 Roberts Hall College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Carol Uber cau1@cornell.edu 120 Maple Ave CIT Tech Support and Labs Pat Washburn pjw2@cornell.edu 120 Maple Ave. CIT Public Labs David Way dgw2@cornell.edu 420D CCC Center for Learning and Teaching
  • 7. Methodologies: In order to gather information for the committee to use in making recommendations, we collected data from several sources. Our initial information gathering tool consisted of 4 focus group sessions conducted by Communications and Marketing Services. These focus groups were divided into: Undergraduate students; Graduate students; Faculty who use the CIT labs for instructional purposes; and Faculty who currently do not use any of the CIT labs for instructional purposes6. After reviewing the focus groups’ comments, a survey was created in order to gather more specific information on a few topics. That survey specifically explored: Computer ownership information, including Operating System information; Usage patterns, including frequency and number of different CIT labs used by an individual; User preference for Windows PC or Macintosh based systems; Individual interest in using Red Rover wireless in the CIT labs; and finally, an open comment section to gather any additional information that the individual wished to share. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 2,507 randomly selected students via e-mail on December 4, 2002. At the same time, an identical survey was published in the CIT Public Labs as a user survey. We were thus able to compare the results of the random survey to the user survey to identify any significant differences between the general Cornell student population and the CIT Public Labs user base7. Finally, Carol Uber and Pat Washburn of the CIT Labs attended the SIGUCCS conference in Providence, RI from November 20 - 24, 2002. At that conference, they were able to review the work of several other institutions with this project in mind. They were also able to interact with several staff members from around the country and discuss the future of public computing and new technologies and ideas that may be affecting public computing in the next few years. 6 The full report from the focus groups is attached as Appendix V 7 The text of the survey, and survey results are attached as Appendices VI, VII, and VIII
  • 8. The Mission of CIT Public Computing is to: 8 • Serve the academic needs of the University by providing: o teaching space for faculty to conduct computer supported academic courses o access to class software provided by instructors and/or departments o spaces for academic group computing projects o access to basic computer software, hardware and peripherals o access to high-end computer technologies such as: laser printers, scanners, and other computer peripherals Serving Cornell University’s academic computing needs is a tremendously large and important undertaking. CIT plays a significant role in satisfying the entire University’s requirements for academic computing in an efficient, reliable and cost-effective manner. By providing essential computing resources to all of Cornell, the CIT Public Labs help provide a significant economy of scale cost savings to the University. If campus departments were to try to provide the same resources, replication of effort would very likely lead to increased overall cost to the university, and the efficiency and reliability would be greatly reduced as computer support would be added to existing positions. Student access to computing resources would be significantly reduced as departments would give priority to their own students. The CIT Public Labs, by providing computing resources on a first-come-first-served basis, can help smaller colleges and departments gain access to technologies that they would otherwise not be able to afford or maintain. Larger colleges may also benefit by relying on CIT to provide overflow resources during busy times in the college’s own labs. Beyond providing computer labs, the CIT Public Computing staff also assists other campus lab managers by providing consulting and assistance with lab management software, Net-Print installations and troubleshooting, and any other solutions and technologies about which they are knowledgeable. 8 Appendix I – Development of the CIT Public Computing Mission
  • 9. The Current Situation: The Cornell Public Computing Landscape: Fall 2002 A detailed search of the Cornell campus was undertaken to identify the computing resources available to undergraduate and graduate students. These resources were generally categorized as either fully public, or unit associated. Fully public resources were available to any student who wished to use them, while unit associated resources were strictly reserved for students in specific courses or majors. There certainly are additional resources that could not be identified in the time available to us; however, we believe that the majority of available systems have been included in this list, and that those resources not included are primarily unit associated, rather than fully public systems.9 Fully Public Systems: Freely available to the entire Cornell Community Total number of FULLY Public systems: 822 Total number of Fully Public Macintosh 82 systems: Total Number of Fully Public Windows 740 systems: Total number of Fully Public Linux/Unix 87 * systems: Total number Fully Public Productivity 693 Total number Kiosk/Task Station 129 Total number public CIT systems 364 (264 Windows Productivity, 69 Mac (Training Lab systems not included) Productivity, 31 Windows kiosk) Unit specific Systems: Only available to students in specific classes, colleges, or majors. Total number of unit specific systems: 519 Total unit specific Macintosh systems: 0 Total unit specific Windows systems: 443 Total unit specific Linux/Unix Systems: 205 * Total number unit specific Kiosk/Task 0 Station systems: *: Unless specified, assumed that all systems in labs with both Windows and Linux/Unix were dual boot. Thus, the total of Windows, Mac, and Unix/Linux systems (1557) is greater than the total number of actual systems of (1341). 9 Full details of the computer resources identified are available in appendix III.
  • 10. Total Systems: All Cornell supplied public computer resources Total number of systems: 1341 Total number of FULLY Public systems: 822 Total Macintosh systems: 82 Total Windows systems: 1183 Total Linux/Unix Systems: 292 * Total number of Fully Public Macintosh 82 systems: Total Number of Fully Public Windows 740 systems: Total number of Fully Public Linux/Unix 87 systems: Total number Fully Public Productivity 693 Total number Kiosk/Task Station 129 Total number public CIT systems 364 (264 Windows Productivity, 69 Mac (Training Lab systems not included) Productivity, 31 Windows kiosk) *: Unless specified, assumed that all systems in labs with both Windows and Linux/Unix were dual boot. Thus, the total of Windows, Mac, and Unix/Linux systems (1557) is greater than the total number of actual systems of (1341).
  • 11. Other Cornell Landscape considerations (2002): • Red Rover wireless networking is installed in several buildings on campus, but is not generally available outside of those locations.10 • Computer Science is using a new course management system beginning with the spring 2003 semester. Increases in the use of such course management systems will likely result in an increased use of computer lab resources for on-line grading activities. • Course Exchange has been implemented as an on-line system. Some students will use lab computers for this previously manual activity beginning this semester. • Academic courses are increasingly requiring students to create web pages as class assignments, resulting in an increased student demand for scanners, image creation and manipulation software, and other high-end computing services and peripherals. • Students are increasing their use of technology in preparing and presenting class projects. Computer enhanced spaces for students to create and present those projects are becoming more popular and thus less available. • The computer systems recently added by the libraries are funded by donated money. When those systems are due for replacement, funds may not be available, and the systems may need to be removed, or may be unable to meet their current roles. The overall number and quality of computer resources will diminish over time if additional funding is not obtained to maintain the current computer systems. • The Original Mann building (OMB) will be closing for renovations in the summer of 2003. The CIT Lab in OMB will need to relocate to a new space, or will be forced to close. The result of CIT’s search for a new space will have significant impact on CIT’s overall instructional computing services, and especially on Macintosh instruction. Moving to a smaller space or closing the lab may force CIT to discontinue Macintosh instructional services regardless of any other considerations or recommendations. • Beginning in the fall ’03 Academic year, Resnet service will be included in the standard room rate, and will be available in all student dorm rooms. • Beginning July 1,2003, Resnet users will be charged for excessive network usage. 10 See HTTP://www.cit.cornell.edu/redrover/maps for current Red Rover coverage map.
  • 12. • Computer ownership is not currently required by the University. Still, survey data shows that well over 90% of students do bring a computer to campus with them. The survey data also indicates that ownership of laptop systems is increasing.11 Computer and Laptop Ownership Data - Random Survey 100 90 80 Computer Ownership 70 Laptop Ownership 60 50 40 Seniors Juniors Sophomores Freshmen Computer Ownership 97.5 97.2 100 98.4 Laptop Ownership 42.1 42.5 47 53.6 Computer and Laptop Ownership Data - Lab User Survey 100 90 80 70 Computer Ownership Laptop Ownership 60 50 40 30 Seniors Juniors Sophomores Freshmen Computer Ownership 93.3 91.6 90.7 83.6 Laptop Ownership 36.9 35.9 44 45.5 11 Appendix VI – Random Student Survey Data Appendix VII – Lab User Survey Data
  • 13. Current Usage of the CIT Labs: Overall student usage and instructional usage statistics are collected by CIT staff where possible. Student data is collected by simple headcounts done every hour at thirty minutes past the hour when the lab is staffed. This data, when collected over a period of time, can help to show how students use the lab, including busy and slow times, and platform preference in labs where a choice exists. This student usage data shows some clear trends in lab usage and platform preference. Not surprisingly, the labs are busiest during the weeks leading up to semester breaks and final exams. During these periods, there is heavy competition for lab computers and printers, with students waiting in line for an available PC. What is surprising in the headcount data is the clear indication that students will wait in line for a PC system rather than use a Macintosh computer. Statistically, student computer preference is approximately 94% PC to 6% Macintosh12. These percentages are most likely slightly skewed in favor of the Macintosh systems due to students using Macintoshes when no PCs are available. Class data for the three instructional labs (Upson, OMB, and Stimson) is entered into a database and maintained in a Corporate Time account for each lab. From these sources, reasonably detailed data can be collected showing the number of classes, the number of class hours, and whether the instruction is academic or non-academic training13. Other information on specific classes can also be collected from these sources if needed. The increase in class usage of the labs in the past two years has been dramatic. FY02 had an 11% increase in class sessions, and a 12% increase in class hours over FY01. In the first half of FY03, there was a 96% increase in class sessions, and a 21% increase in class hours14. This appears to signify a move toward more, shorter classes being held in the labs as students enter college with a better basic knowledge of computers and software. Another major part in the increase in lab use comes from an increase in the use of the CIT academic computer labs for non-academic computer training purposes. From July 1, 2002 to April 9, 2003 the CIT instructional labs hosted 291 academic class sessions for a total of 441 academic class hours, and 190 non-academic training sessions for a total of 648 non-academic training hours. This equates to 47% more non-academic use than academic use, and adds up to the equivalent of 108 days when an academic resource was not available to the student population for academic computing needs during this 283 day period15. 12 Appendix III – Headcount Statistics 13 Appendix II – CIT Public Labs Class Statistics, FY01 – FY03 14 Appendix II 15 Appendix II
  • 14. Current Academic Computing News A few recent news items show some of the trends currently affecting academic computing. These and several other similar announcements demonstrate fundamental changes in both technology and its uses as an educational tool. Significant in all of these is the sense that technology is not only accepted as a necessary element in academic endeavors, but that there is a real determination among students, faculty, and institutions to integrate technology in an intelligent, essential and on-going basis as a tool to enhance learning by increasing student engagement and participation, and by allowing faculty to focus on interacting with students rather than lecturing. http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=10/25/2002 Survey: Internet Trumps Library in Student Success A survey by McGraw-Hill Ryerson found that Web technology is considered by higher- ed faculty to be the most effective resource in encouraging student success, outweighing traditional resources such as the library and tutoring. The survey, which followed three years of data collection at U.S. and Canadian universities, found that 83 percent of higher-ed faculty believe Web technology is a key contributor to student success. The survey said that 62 percent of faculty now use Web content for course preparation, 56 percent use the Internet to supplement textbooks and 51 percent use the Web to ensure up-to-date course content. The use of the Internet in course preparation jumped to first place in terms of importance, with 91 percent of faculty ranking it extremely important. McGraw-Hill said this reflects the increasing amount of current Web-based information available and students' expectations about it being used in their courses. To order copies of the survey, contact Marlene Luscombe, (905) 430-5130 or marlenel@mcgrawhill.ca. http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=11/22/2002 Med School Integrates Handhelds into Curriculum The University of Louisville School of Medicine and School of Dentistry purchased and distributed 1,100 Palm Inc. m500 handhelds to students as part of a strategy to connect students to patient care throughout its curriculum—from studies traditionally dominated by lecture-style presentations to hands-on clinical training. "Most national medical … educators agree that active, self-directed learning facilitates retention," said Ruth Greenberg, Ph.D., director of academic programs at the school's Health Sciences Center. "With handheld technology, we can create opportunities for students to become more actively engaged in their learning even in basic science classes. We can introduce them to clinical concepts from the first day they enter medical school rather than waiting until the third and fourth years of clinical work where handhelds are more commonly used."
  • 15. http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=11/15/2002 PC Industry Unveils "Next Big Thing": Tablet PC Microsoft Corp. and a slew of computer hardware and software companies last week announced the availability of the Tablet PC, marking the beginning of what Microsoft chairman Bill Gates called "an exciting new era of mobile computing." The Tablets, introduced by six original equipment manufacturers, including Acer, Fujitsu PC Corp., HP, Motion Computing Inc., Toshiba, and ViewSonic Inc., run a version of Windows XP that integrates the power of pen computing with the portability of the laptop. For on- screen reading applications, Gates announced Microsoft Reader for the Tablet PC, the latest version of Microsoft's eReading application optimized for the Tablet. Purchasers of the Tablet PC will be able to take advantage of a promotional offer: a selection of free eBooks targeted to business professionals. http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=1/28/2003 Penn State Launches Complete Online MBA Program Penn State has launched a master's of business administration degree program that is available completely online. The Intercollege MBA (iMBA) has 28 students currently working in fields such as medicine, information technology, and finance, enrolled in the program. The program features instruction by Penn State graduate faculty members that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Students can complete the 48-credit program in two years, without having to quit their jobs or move. "We've developed a niche that will attract new individuals to Penn State," said John Fizel, iMBA program chair and professor of economics at Penn State-Erie, Behrend College. "Whether you live in London, Colorado Springs or Atlanta, you can become part of the Penn State family." For more information visit: http://worldcampus.psu.edu/imba http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=1/14/2003 McGraw-Hill, eCollege Sign Cross-Marketing Deal McGraw-Hill Higher Education signed an agreement with course management system company eCollege to make online supplements to McGraw Hill titles available to customers of the eCollege AU+ platform. The companies said the deal would give faculty access to a broad range of content to help build online courses, and enhance existing online courses. Through the eCollege platform, educators would have access to 200 online supplements that support McGraw-Hill titles for use in online distance courses or as online course supplements for traditional classroom courses.
  • 16. Oxford U. Press Enlists Online Service Provider Oxford University Press has asked Ingenta to build a scholarly books Web site for the publisher. The site will feature: 750 current and selected backlist titles available in full text at launch, equivalent to 250,000 printed pages. It will also include "comprehensive coverage" in the areas of economics, political science, philosophy, and religion. Navigable and fully searchable abstracts will also be available. Ingenta distributes published scientific, professional, and academic research via the Internet, and develops and maintains specialist Web sites for publishers, self-publishing societies, and libraries. http://www.syllabus.com/news.asp?IssueDate=1/31/2003 E-TEXTBOOKS—Atomic Dog Publishing, which develops electronic college textbooks, released version 3.0 of its online learning software, MyBackpack. The latest version is targeted at assisting instructors with features that allow them to edit, delete, and renew their courses; annotate and create custom content to be inserted directly into their textbooks; and track student performance in real-time. New features would also enable students to customize their textbook learning environment. Enhanced navigation features include an intuitive Flash-based toolbar which allows searches by figure, word, or phrase and a button to access study guides from any point in the text.
  • 17. The Next 5 Years: Expected Changes at Cornell Over the next 5 years, several factors will influence public computing on the Cornell campus. While it is impossible to predict all of the changes that will affect public computing, some items can be anticipated. Some of the changes expected over the next 5 years: • Required Laptop computers are NOT expected in the next 5 years. • Continued increase in student ownership of laptop/portable computers is likely. • Red Rover expansion plan in the next 5 years: with new lower rates in effect on July 1, 2003, Red Rover is expected to go through a rapid growth phase. • Increase in integration of computing and teaching/learning. • Increase in the computing capabilities of inexpensive, common devices such as cell phones, PDA’s, etc. • Introduction of new portable computing devices, such as Tablet PC’s, etc. • Increase in the use of and need for multi-media computing for both in-class and out-of-class presentations and assignments. • Increase in on-line administrative resources for students. • West Campus Initiative16 impact on Noyes, etc.: undetermined at this time. The current Campus Life plan is to close the Noyes computer lab in FY07, and to open a new, smaller lab in each of the 5 residence houses. • The Original Mann building will be undergoing renovations beginning in the summer of 2003. A new lab (80 seat) is expected to open in the renovated space in the fall of fy06 (September 2005). At this time, we anticipate mix of standard lab and laptop loaner systems to make up the 80 units. This lab is intended as a new service, not as a replacement for any currently existing lab. 16 http:// ri.campuslife.cornell.edu for details
  • 18. Expected Changes in Academic Computing The next few years will bring about significant changes in academic computing, ranging from new technologies and improved infrastructures, to pedagogies that will intelligently include those technologies to create engaging student-centered learning environments. As these changes take place, and at least partially because of these changes, both students and faculty will have significantly higher expectations that appropriate technologies will be ubiquitously available and useful to them. “All students and faculty in the near future will own mobile wireless intelligent network connected devices that work effectively everywhere. These devices—whether computers, PDAs, or specialized appliances—will be portable enough or will offer compelling enough services so that students and faculty will carry them everywhere. All of the course material, supplementary material, and learning and administration tools will be available from those devices. Given the right tools and training, the focus of learning will move from the classroom to the learning space environment that teachers and students will be able to access wherever they are. Everything said or seen in a classroom will be captured for access—when it happens and for later review—in a student’s learning space.”17 Largely, this increase in expectations comes from familiarity. Students are often introduced to computers at a very early age, with many getting access in elementary schools, or even earlier. “Use of the Internet is a part of college students’ daily routine, in part because they have grown up with computers. It is integrated into their daily communication habits and has become a technology as ordinary as the telephone or television.”18 Another important trend is the changing demography of college students. Only a small percentage of current college students fit the traditional profile of full-time students between the ages of 18 and 22 years old who live on –campus, and that number continues to decrease. “Contemporary students are more ethnically and racially diverse, and come from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds, than at any time in history. They face more life pressures, and bring with them a greater array of life experiences, than our original systems ever imagined.”19 17 New Learning Spaces: Smart Learners, Not Smart Classrooms - 9/1/2002 http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6702 18 The Internet Goes to College: How Students are Living in the Future with Today's Technology – 9/15/2002 http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/pdfs/PIP_College_Report.pdf 19 Diversity, Demographics, and Dollars: Challenges for Higher Education – July, 2002 http://www.pfhe.org/documentposts/WP3.pdf
  • 19. This wealth of diversity, while a boon for education, is also a major challenge. Students of such diverse backgrounds have varying learning styles and needs. While technology can be intimidating to some, it can also be of great educational benefit to others. “…technology has the potential (and in some cases is already being utilized) to greatly enhance student learning experiences on campus as well. Technology increases the potential for students to have a variety of learning environments, from simulated role playing to problem solving to interactive dialogue. The various software programs that are being and will be created have the ability to respond to a range of learning styles and varying degrees of student sophistication, and allow students to learn at their own pace. Technology has already proven to be extremely useful for working students, who can access software and on-line communication on their own schedule.”20 Project on the Future of Higher Education http://www.pfhe.org The Internet Goes to College: How Students are Living in the Future with Today's Technology http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/pdfs/PIP_College_Report.pdf Interview: Lippmann on Learning: Fundamental Changes http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6073 Campus-Wide Wireless: Mobility and Convergence: An Interview with Lawrence M. Levine http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6770 Computers a powerful link at WFU, prof says http://www.journalnow.com/wsj/MGB4AWFN0ED.html Teaching in the Wireless Cloud - Students with mobile devices are slowly redefining some fundamental campus rules. http://www.thefeature.com/index.jsp?url=article.jsp?pageid=35265 (see also: related article – Learning Goes Mobile) New Learning Spaces: Smart Learners, Not Smart Classrooms http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6702 Are e-books ready for the classroom? http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp? id=4771 20 Diversity, Demographics, and Dollars: Challenges for Higher Education – July, 2002 http://www.pfhe.org/documentposts/WP3.pdf
  • 20. Tablet PC: Tablet PCs Stake Out Higher Ed http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6985 Tablet PC pilot at UT Austin http://www.utexas.edu/computer/tabletpc-rap2002/ Wireless Network: The Wi-Fi Revolution: The Wireless Internet has Arrived – and now the sky’s the limit. By Chris Anderson http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.05/unwired/wifirevolution.html Digitization of Library Resources: A Bridge to the Future: Observations on Building a Digital Library http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6132 From Aesop to Isotopes: Digital Libraries Offer Vast Online Resources http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=6144 Pedagogical changes: Center for Academic Transformation http://www.center.rpi.edu/ Pedagogical Implications of Wireless Technologies (workshop) http://cet.middlebury.edu/prgm_regional_shops_wl.php Positive Pedagogy: http://www.mcmaster.ca/learning/posped/2002/germain- rutherford_2(1)_2002.htm http://www.mcmaster.ca/learning/posped/Sep01/rudolph_commentary901.html http://www.mcmaster.ca/learning/posped/Sep01/caron901.html http://www.mcmaster.ca/learning/posped/Sep01/Vibert-Williams901.html
  • 21. Analysis: Trends / Assumptions: We expect in the next few years that: • Student use of and need for computing resources, particularly networked resources, will only increase. • More resources, especially library and other research resources, will become more readily available on-line. • Student assignments will increasingly require collaboration and high-end computing resources. • Wireless networking will become much more widely available and reliable, and will be an expected resource by incoming students. • Faculty will increase their routine use of computers in teaching courses. • Computer training needs on campus will continue to increase. • Student ownership of computers will continue to approach 100%. • Student ownership of laptop/portable computers will continue to increase. • Laptop/portable computers will continue to get smaller and more powerful. We are still in the early years of the internet, and the entire world, not just universities, is still coming to grips with the massive changes it has caused, and there are no indications that the changes will stop or even slow at any time in the near future. It would seem that we have only seen the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” regarding the transformations that will come. It seems certain that use of computers and the internet will continue to increase and the student demand for more power, flexibility, ubiquity, ease-of-use, interest, entertainment and engagement will require a serious commitment from Cornell to satisfy. Access to networked computers is no longer an optional enhancement to learning, but a required component. Unfortunately, Cornell’s current academic computing environment forces students, who generally have computers, to compete for public computers in order to access class related software for assignments. Once in a public lab, students who wish to work on class assignments are vying for systems with students who are using the computers to check e-mail, browse the web, talk with friends on instant message programs, play games, and work on their own class work. As the usage of the labs increases, and the needs for class software also increases, this problem will continue to grow unless steps are taken to alleviate it. CIT, as a central service organization, must focus on providing high demand services to the campus. Unless there is a compelling strategic reason to do so, CIT should not provide low-demand or specialized services, leaving those to the individual units that require them. For example, introducing a new service that is expected to grow would be a strategic decision, while continuing to provide a service that is not growing, or is
  • 22. creating greater costs than benefits would be a poor use of Cornell resources. CIT should be constantly alert for new services, and should also continuously review its’ current services to ensure that the proper mix is being supported.
  • 23. Committee Findings: -Cornell must have a strategic plan for academic computing that will improve teaching and learning with a flexible, scalable, secure, and stable infrastructure. The academic computing resources that Cornell provides have evolved in response to changing needs over the past several years, without the benefit of a coordinated strategic plan. -With this strategic plan in mind, the CIT Labs should take this opportunity to examine the suite of services that are provided: -examine the PC/Mac Ratio -examine the Kiosk situation -examine the need for increased collaborative resources. -examine the need for increased access to high-end equipment. -examine the software that CIT provides. -examine the mix, size, and layout of instructional and general labs. -The lack of computer Training Labs has had, and will continue to have, a negative impact on the Academic mission of the CIT instructional Labs. -CIT must provide more leadership and coordination of public computing issues.
  • 24. A Strategic Plan for the Future of Academic Computing at Cornell University: A cohesive strategic plan is required to address the issues with the current academic computing environment, and to create a framework for future decisions. Making academic software more readily available and ensuring that the computing resources that students will require in the future are in place must be a high priority. Failure to prepare for the future academic computing needs could lead to significant negative consequences if faculty and student expectations exceed Cornell’s ability to provide services. While examining the possible options for improvement, several scenarios were considered, including increasing the number of public labs and computers, required laptop computers, and recommended laptop computer programs.21 Naturally, addressing this complex issue will require a complex solution. We feel that the plan ultimately chosen by the committee has the greatest long-term potential for Cornell, and its’ faculty and students. Considering the current public computing resources available on campus and the expected growth in nearly every aspect of academic computing in the next few years, it appears unlikely that the current system will be able to scale up rapidly enough to keep pace with the expected demand. At the same time, student computer ownership data22 suggests that there is a vast untapped and underutilized resource available. Nearly all Cornell students own computers, and nearly half own portable systems, but no method of enabling academic use of those systems beyond checking e-mail, web research, and writing papers, academic computing is still largely done in campus computer labs. Enabling students to make better academic use of their own computers would appear to be a reasonable first step. Looking further into the future, creating a campus environment that encourages students to purchase and use laptop or other portable computers for their academic computing needs on central campus, as well as in their residences, will make it possible for Cornell faculty and students to successfully integrate computing into their daily academic lives. Naturally, any initiative aimed at increasing ownership of laptop computers, and increasing usage of those laptops in the central campus areas in lieu of computer lab usage will need to first identify the barriers that currently prevent students from using their own computers. Once those barriers are identified, a series of responses may be crafted to address and remove the obstacles. 21 Appendix X –describes many of the options and scenarios considered. 22 Appendix VII
  • 25. Current barriers to student use of laptop computers on the Cornell campus include: • Limited Red Rover coverage • Student issues with laptop computers o Some students experience difficulty setting up laptops for Red Rover o Many student owned laptops are not currently equipped for wireless o Most current laptop systems weigh too much to carry o Laptop systems are considered too fragile to carry on campus o Laptop systems are too prone to theft o Loss or damage to laptop can lead to loss of vital work/data • Students still need to use the labs to access course software In order to create an environment in which those obstacles no longer exist, or are greatly alleviated, Cornell and CIT should launch the following set of initiatives: • Aggressively expand Red Rover wireless networking coverage. • Create a program to recommend a selected few portable/laptop computers for use on the Cornell campus. o Include colleges in the selection process. o Negotiate volume prices. o Consider Lease to own alternatives. • Create an on-campus service and support center for the recommended systems. • Create an Active Directory with all Cornell Kerberos principals defined to provide authentication and authorization services. • Create a central networked storage system that will allow students to save files and data in a secure location. • Create a central application server to allow wide-spread access to course specific software • Install several secure short term storage lockers for student laptops. Details: Aggressively expand Red Rover coverage: Beginning July 1, 2003, the cost of installing and maintaining a Red Rover access point will decrease significantly due to changes in the Network Billing structure. FY03 RedRover access point costs: Installation costs ($500 – $600) + $29.35 monthly jack fee and $15.00 monthly monitoring fee. FY04 RedRover access point costs: Installation costs ($500 – $600) only – NO monthly fees. Savings of $532.20 per access point per year. Based on these changes, CIT is expecting “an explosion in the next couple of years – up to 1000 access points on campus in the next couple of years.” There are approximately
  • 26. 150 access points on campus at this time, so this represents nearly 700% growth expected in the next 2 – 5 years. Create a program to recommend a selected few portable/laptop computers for use on the Cornell campus: In order to encourage more students to purchase and use laptop/portable computer systems, Cornell must be able to assist students in making purchase decisions. By creating a small list of systems that will meet the needs of students in their academic studies, Cornell can provide that assistance. By keeping the number of recommended systems to a minimum, volume purchasing can provide leverage to obtain better prices and support options than can be gotten by individual students, and support issues are minimized by standardizing the variety of hardware23. It may be possible to negotiate 4-year warrantee periods so that the systems would be covered for the student’s entire expected undergraduate college career. As an answer to the students’ feeling that laptop computers weight too much to carry on campus, some of the recommended systems should be light-weight. TabletPCs currently weigh as little as 3 pounds, and Apple’s new 12” PowerBooks weigh 4.6 pounds. It is likely however, that students currently will not generally carry laptops because there is no real value in the effort. As laptops become more valuable in day-to-day life, students will carry them, regardless of their weight. One day, perhaps textbooks could be digital resources carried on portable computers rather than separately. That trend is already beginning24, and should continue as portable computers become more fully integrated into the educational process. Cornell will need to consider and account for the needs of the different colleges, and it is possible that some of the recommended systems would not be appropriate for students in certain disciplines. This should not cause any problems as long as those additional requirements are fully detailed in any distributed publications. For example, the minimum recommended system may not be advisable for students in CS/Engineering, or Art classes, but may be perfectly acceptable for all other students. Prominently noting those exceptions in the publications would solve those issues. An added value to students purchasing from the list of recommended systems would be the possibility of having the systems pre-configured to best utilize Cornell’s infrastructure. Bear Access could be installed, Red Rover set up, and the system serial number could also be registered with Cornell Police. It is important to note that these recommendations are made only to assist students and prospective students in making buying decisions. These recommendations are not a required laptop program, nor would students be discouraged from bringing any computer system that they desire to campus. 23 This system is similar to an initiative at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. See http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/computing/ipaq/impact/iPAQImpact.htm 24 Program Live by David Gries is an electronic textbook currently in use at Cornell. There are certainly others.
  • 27. An additional option to consider is a lease-to-own program wherein students could pay monthly payments until the end of the lease period of 3 years, with the option to purchase the computer at the end of the lease, or begin a new 1-year lease on a new system. Create an on-campus service and support center for the recommended systems: One of the greatest impediments to student use of portable computers on central campus is the fear of accidental damage. Students, with so much of their academic and personal lives stored on a portable computer, are assuming considerable risk and responsibility whenever they carry it on campus. If a small number of systems can be recommended for students to purchase, it becomes possible to provide improved service and support. A small on-campus repair center with a stock of standard spare parts and a few “hot-spare” systems to loan out to students whose computers require more extensive servicing would allow students a greater sense of security and freedom. Since this center would only service the Cornell recommended computers, it would also serve as an additional incentive for students to purchase those recommended systems. An increased volume of purchases through that program would generate increased leverage for Cornell in obtaining better pricing and warrantee coverage from the vendors25,26. This service center could be set up as a Cornell initiative, or outsourced to the Computing Center, or another service vendor. Create a central networked storage system that will allow students to save files and data in a secure location: Central, secure storage for computer data becomes an increasingly vital service as more of the Cornell community become users of portable computers. Backing up a laptop or other portable system, especially one with large data files, can be an extremely difficult task since many backup systems require access to the data during times when the computer may not even be connected to the network. Rather than rely on users to create and maintain backups, or rely on them to ensure that their computer is connected to the network and turned on at the time that a backup for the system is scheduled, central storage space can be used to securely store vital files. Central storage space also allows users to access their data from any other computer whenever it is needed. Breaking the connection between the hardware and the data will ensure that a dropped or otherwise damaged laptop will not cause any significant loss of work or data. Like the proposed on-campus service and support center, this initiative will allow use of portable computers without fears of catastrophic loss in the case of a simple hardware failure or accident. Computers purchased through the recommended systems program could be pre-configured to map the default save location (My Documents folder on a Windows computer) to the user’s server share. Documents created on those machines would automatically be saved to the server by default, without requiring any additional user intervention. 25 This system is similar to an initiative at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. See http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/computing/ipaq/impact/iPAQImpact.htm 26 Another extremely similar initiative has been found at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Details of the Carolina Computing Initiative can be found at http://www.unc.edu/cci
  • 28. Create a central application server to allow wide-spread access to course specific software: Even with each Cornell student bringing their own computer system with them to classes, access to course software remains as an issue. The software that they would need to use for coursework is too expensive for the university to purchase and supply to each student, and also too expensive to force the students to individually purchase. Currently, the CIT and departmental labs fill this role by providing software either on a number of systems equal to the number of licenses, or by using KeyAccess or some other license enforcing software to restrict the number of copies of a program that can be used simultaneously. Clearly, this model will cause students who need to access any course software to come into the existing labs for that purpose, and once a student is forced into the labs for any reason, that student will not be getting any value from carrying a portable system. In order to make course software more widely available, a secure central application server should be installed. Since nearly all of the course software that the CIT public labs are currently supporting is Windows based, a Citrix server or other competing solution should be considered. In addition to making course software more available to students on central campus, software would be available to students using other operating systems, or in dormitory areas, or any off-campus location with a network connection. Students with older, less-capable computers would still be able to run any server based courseware applications as well as students with newer high-end computers since the processing is done on the server rather than the client computer. If it became necessary in the future, similar application servers could be installed to support Unix/Linux applications. Clearly, it would be possible to install and maintain administrative as well as academic applications on a central applications server. Thinking along these lines, it would seem likely that the cost of installing and maintaining such a system should be shared by the campus. Several cost recovery models should be possible if allocated funding is deemed inappropriate for this model. Properly done, Cornell should be able to reduce its overall computing costs by significantly reducing the quantity of software licenses required to meet the needs of the campus. Citrix servers are currently being used at several other Universities, such as Stanford, Virginia Tech, and the University of Michigan for the distribution of administrative and or academic applications. Another additional benefit to providing course software on central servers is the improvement in service to students with disabilities. Often, specific software or hardware accommodations are required to enable students’ computer use, and these accommodations are configured for individual needs and preferences. With a central application server, students would be able to use their own customized computers to run the course applications that they need to access rather than being forced to adapt themselves to lab computers. Install several secure short term storage lockers for student laptops:
  • 29. It seems unreasonable to expect students to carry and care for laptop computers at all times. Creating several secure short term storage locations would allow students to safely leave their laptop while they participated in activities that made laptop care difficult. http://www.americanlocker.com/Sel.htm presents an interesting option, particularly if it can be combined with http://www.americanlocker.com/lts10.htm as the locker system, and tied in to Cornell ID cards rather than credit cards. I would prefer to see these lockers as a free service rather than pay-per- use. http://www.fargogroup.com/gb/east_lockers/raintime_lockers.htm is another nice option to consider.
  • 30. Based on this Strategic Plan, Re-Examine the current Suite of Services: -examine the PC/Mac Ratio -examine the Kiosk situation -examine the need for increased collaborative resources. -examine the need for increased access to high-end equipment. -examine the software that CIT provides. -examine the mix, size, and layout of instructional and general labs.
  • 31. The PC to Macintosh Ratio in the Labs: A major issue for the CIT Labs, as we prepare for the next academic year and beyond, is the ratio of PC to Macintosh computers. The current Macintosh computer systems are scheduled for replacement in FY04. Survey data and statistics indicate that the use of the current Macs by individual students and by academic classes are very low. Changes to the proportion of computers must be determined quickly as new systems will be ordered shortly after July 1, 2003. The final decision must be the one that allows CIT to create a stable and supportable computing environment that best meets the needs of the students and faculty. The possibilities that were considered include:  Continue with current 80/20 ratio.  Change to a new ratio (90/10?).  Discontinue Macintosh support in the CIT Labs.  Discontinue Macintosh general computing, but provide Mac high- end multi-media stations. Moving forward with Macintosh computers will require many changes. Any new Macintosh computer purchased now will require the OS X operating system. Continuing with Macs will require that the Labs staff develop new skills and methods to support OS X. That development process will require the same level of effort, whether the labs continue with the same number of Macs as they support now, or significantly reduce that number. Only by discontinuing Macs completely does the level of development effort change. A significant factor in this decision is the increasing probability that CIT will not be able to supply a Macintosh instructional facility for the fall 2003 semester. The Original Mann Building (OMB), which houses the current CIT Macintosh instructional lab, will be closed for renovations beginning this summer. At this time, it appears that the lab will be closed rather than relocated, as no new space has been found for the lab to move into. If this happens, CIT will lose all of its’ Macintosh instructional capability, along with 1/3 of its’ PC instructional capacity. Given the minimal number of Macintosh instructional requests (1 class per academic year for the past 2 years), reducing PC capacity in favor of Macs is not a recommended solution. With the loss of the Macintosh instructional lab, the only Macintosh systems remaining would serve as general computing systems, allowing students to write papers, check e- mail, etc. As the survey indicates, students are more comfortable with and prefer to use Windows PC systems for most common computing tasks. There is no compelling reason to support Macintosh systems for general computing needs. Even assuming that a new space for the OMB lab can be found, the extremely low number of Macintosh instructional requests suggests that the effort and expense required purchasing and providing Macintosh systems may be better used in other endeavors.
  • 32. Committee Recommendation: CIT’s responsibility to the University is to provide central academic computing resources. CIT is not able to answer all needs, and so must focus on strategic services. Academic needs that are specific to individual units must be provided by those units. Macintosh computing has fallen to a level where it is no longer a strategic service for CIT to provide in the public computing labs, therefore, CIT should discontinue all general computing on Macintosh computers. This recommendation should be finalized, and communicated to the Cornell community as soon as possible. Any units who currently use, or plan on using Macintosh systems for academic computing needs should plan to provide for their own support in the next academic year27. If Macintosh computing becomes a strategic service in the future, CIT can and should readdress this issue at that time. 27 Note: CIT lab staff has already been in contact with the instructor who has used the CIT Macintosh systems to inform her that CIT will not be able to host Macintosh based classes in the upcoming academic year. We have attempted to assist in locating Windows versions of the required software so the class can continue to use CIT labs.
  • 33. The Kiosk Situation: The CIT Public labs currently provide approximately 33 e-mail kiosks in 15 unique locations on campus. 15 of those systems are located in Uris Library, and the remaining 18 are scattered around campus in groups of one or two.28 The question to consider is whether these e-mail kiosks are a strategic service, especially considering the CIT Public Labs’ academic mission and strategic plan. Since the intended purpose for these computers is to provide e-mail access, the systems are configured in a manner that prevents most academic uses. Productivity software and class software packages are not available on kiosks. Clearly, it would be difficult to characterize these systems as aligned with the labs’ mission of providing academic resources. Additionally, due to the highly distributed nature of the majority of the kiosk systems, they have an inordinately high support burden. Basic checks of these kiosks require much greater staff time per system than lab computers because of the additional travel time involved. Kiosk systems are also created on “left-over” systems that have been removed from labs. Since this hardware is older and out of warrantee, hardware failures are more likely to occur, and are not covered by warrantees. These factors obviously translate to a much higher maintenance cost. Committee Recommendation: With these higher costs and lack of clear strategic value, we feel that the majority, it not all kiosks should be discontinued. Certainly no additional kiosks should be deployed unless a clear strategic reason to do so can be determined beforehand. Possible exceptions are the kiosks that are located in close proximity to existing CIT labs. If those kiosks are proven to be effective in reducing the demand on the academic systems in the lab, it may be worthwhile to continue with them. Those systems should also be discontinued as soon as they no longer demonstrate significant strategic value. As students are encouraged to carry their personal computers onto central campus, the need to provide these utility computing services should decline rapidly. 28 http://www.cit.cornell.edu/labs has a list of the current kiosk locations.
  • 34. The Need for Increased Collaborative Resources: “Collaborative Environment: There is substantial research which indicates student learning is improved through intensive small group and peer discussion, and these findings appear to be underscored when we are dealing with a highly diverse study body (Humphreys & Schneider, 1997). Collaborative group work that integrates social and academic support is an especially powerful model for students from underrepresented populations (Treisman, 1992). Institutions whose student bodies are composed primarily of minority students have shown high rates of success in retention and graduation rates, which reflects a community that is supportive both academically and socially (Brazzell, 1996). Many adult campuses have also developed coursework that emphasizes cohort learning. While this structure evolved in response to the schedules of working adults (allowing students intensive cohort group learning with longer, less frequent class meetings), it has also proven to be an effective learning process, encouraging students to learn from each other in a dynamic environment (Wlodkowski, 1985).”29 Collaborative use, like most other aspects of computing, should be expected to increase in the next few years. CIT currently provides one lab, G-25 Stimson Hall, with 5 collaborative workstations. G-25 Stimson also acts as an audio/video teleconferencing room for the Global Seminar30 course taught through the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). We have very little evidence that the Stimson lab is used for collaborative computing except on rare occasions, and during Global Seminar class sessions. It seems that collaboration happens more frequently in labs that were not designed for it than in the Stimson lab. It is a common sight in many of the other labs to see 2 or more students grouped around one computer, leaving several nearby workstations without chairs. Our circumstantial evidence shows that collaboration happens where the students are, not in the lab built for that purpose. So, it naturally follows that collaborative environments must be made available in the labs where collaboration is currently happening. However, those labs are also the busiest and creating collaborative workstations would require a reduction in the total number of computers available. An immediate possibility for increasing collaborative opportunities could be found by replacing the existing Macintosh computers with a smaller number of new systems. For example, if the 5 Macintosh systems in Carpenter hall were replaced by 3 new PC systems, the additional space could easily be used to create 2 collaborative areas. Although the overall number of available computers is reduced in this scenario, the number of available PC systems is increased and more closely aligns with student demands. 29 Appendix XI: Diversity, Demographics and Dollars: Challenges for Higher Education http://www.pfhe.org/documentposts/WP3.pdf 30 http://www.cals.cornell.edu/global/index.htm
  • 35. Over the longer term, more opportunities should become available, particularly as students begin to carry personal computers onto central campus to satisfy their academic computing needs. At that point, the pressures on the existing labs should begin to subside, and small numbers of computers can be removed from existing labs to make additional space for collaborative use in all labs. Committee Recommendation: As the existing Macintosh computer systems are replaced this summer, they should be replaced with a slightly smaller number of PC’s, making room for collaborative spaces in every lab where Macintosh systems are currently. Upson lab is the only one that does not currently have Macintosh systems, or a nearby collaborative lab. Upson space layout should be reviewed to see if collaborative space could be reasonably created. CIT labs staff shall continue to monitor lab usage over the next few years. If usage drops, and demand for collaborative systems increases as is expected, more collaborative spaces should then be created by simply removing surplus systems.
  • 36. The Need for Increased Access to High-end Equipment: Yet another area where demand is expected to increase in the next few years is access to high-end computing equipment. Only a few years ago, most printing needs were met with dot-matrix printers, and portable storage was carried on floppy disks. Today, high- speed Black & White and Color laser printers supplied via net-print meet most student printing needs, and Zip or CD-R/RW disks serve as adequate portable storage. Just as the current students have outgrown floppy disk storage for their day-to-day needs, students in the near future are going to require the use of computer equipment that is not currently commonplace. Adoption of these new technologies typically follows a standard bell-curve, with a few early adopters preceding the large demand. The needs of these early adopters can be met by providing a small number of enhanced systems at a number of locations. As demand increases, future scheduled lab purchases can incorporate the new technology as a standard feature, or additional specially equipped systems can be deployed. If demand fails to grow or if the service is determined for any other reason to be non-strategic, additional deployments would simply not happen, and the existing systems would be phased out. Determining which new technologies may have strategic value will likely be the most difficult part of this task, and will certainly not be foolproof. Caution would probably be the best course of action in this phase, with initial deployments coming slightly before demand increased. In other words, demand should be reasonably certain before deployment of any new technology. Initial deployments must be clearly labeled as trials to limit potential disappointment should the service be later withdrawn. Committee Recommendation: As we expect the needs for high-end computing equipment to increase, CIT should determine a standard process for evaluating demand, deploying, supporting, evaluating usage, and eliminating or expanding services based on usage and strategic value. Initial deployment of any new technologies should always be in a location which can provide appropriate support, so the fully staffed labs (Upson, Uris, and Stimson) should see the first units. If further deployment is warranted and support issues pose no significant problems, additional units can be placed in the other CIT labs. With many of these technologies, initial deployments would take advantage of the collaborative spaces that should be created. Depending on the nature of the service, later deployments could include all systems in the CIT labs, as Zip drives are now universally available, or could be more limited in scope, like the scanners that are currently available in some labs.
  • 37. The Software that CIT Provides: CIT currently purchases and provides 3 software packages: Microsoft Office XP, Adobe Photoshop 7.0, and Claris FileMaker 4.0. All other software packages provided by CIT are freeware or Cornell licensed software such as Eudora and other Bear Access packages. Considering the mission of the labs, the entire suite of software provided should be reviewed to ensure that the proper programs are available, and no unneeded packages are being provided. Supplier Software package Purpose Committee Recommendation CIT Microsoft Office XP word processing, Continue to provide spread sheet, presentation, database CIT Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Image editing Continue to provide CIT Claris FileMaker 4.0 database Discontinue CIT KeyAccess 5.1 License control Continue to provide CIT HP Precision Scan Scanner Continue to provide Pro Software Cornell Site Bear Access 2003 Software Continue to provide License suite distribution and version control Cornell Site Netscape Web browser Discontinue License Communicator 4.76 Cornell Site Symantec Anti-Virus Anti-Virus Continue to provide License 8 Cornell Site TurboZip 1.03 Zip/Unzip utility Continue to provide License Cornell Site Corporate Time 6.0 Calendar Continue to provide License Utilities/Freeware Adobe Acrobat Web helper / Continue to provide Reader 5.1 PDF reader Utilities/Freeware Real Player 7 Basic Web helper Continue to provide Utilities/Freeware QuickTime 6 Web helper Continue to provide FABIT On Wan Video Global seminar Continue to provide Conferencing video conference Student Open Book: Ruby Assistive Continue to provide Disability Edition Technology Services Student Dragon Naturally Assistive Continue to provide Disability Speaking 5 Preferred Technology Services
  • 38. Committee Recommendation: Only minimal changes are indicated at this time. The old versions of Netscape and Filemaker currently installed should be discontinued. All other application should remain and continue to be upgraded and maintained. If and when a central application server is created, all possible applications should be moved from local systems to the central server in order to provide students more ubiquitous access to the software that they may need. This would be especially desirable for any class applications, and applications that are only occasionally used such as Photoshop. Hardware specific applications such as scanner software or video conferencing software would still need to be locally installed, as would many of the web helper and utility programs.
  • 39. The Mix, Size, and Layout of Instructional and General Labs: Ideally, in order to serve the greatest number of academic needs, CIT should maintain instructional computer labs in a variety of sizes and configurations. Unfortunately, the instructional labs that we expect CIT to provide in the next academic year do not offer a great deal of variety. The Stimson B lab is capable of holding up to 23 students per session, and the Upson lab, although equipped with 60 computers, is really only set up to allow classes of up to 29 students at a time due to the elongated shape and size of the room. Clearly, these do not represent a broad spectrum of options. CIT does not have any facility which can properly support large classes, or any instructional spaces in which flexible collaborative computing projects can be conducted. Large Computer –Based Lectures: To accommodate large computer class sessions, an ideal situation might be to create an instructional lab in a tiered seating lecture hall. In order to allow regular lectures, the computer hardware can and should be installed in a non-intrusive manner. The computers should be mounted under the desks. Keyboards and mice should be installed in sliding trays that could be pushed under the desk when not needed. Monitors would require the most significant efforts to properly mount, but should be installed in a manner that would allow them to be stowed out of sight whenever not in use. The best concept would be a system that would allow for flat-screen monitors to be dropped down into wells at the front of the desk area. When needed, the monitors could be raised up on articulating arms that would allow students to move and adjust the monitors as desired. With these accommodations, a standard lecture room could maintain its original purpose, and be additionally enabled for computer-based lectures and demonstrations. Small Collaborative Classes: Creating space for small computer-based collaborative class sessions is an even more challenging task that creating a large computer classroom. While the key to the large room design is invisibility, the primary goal in a collaborative space is flexibility. Combining flexibility with security and utility in a room that is easy to use and understand is a current challenge for many educators. As it is a fairly recent phenomenon, the best method for introducing computers into the teaching and learning process is not fully understood, and is the subject of many studies and discussions.31 31 Built Pedagogies & Technology Practices: Designing for Participatory Learning Torin Monahan - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute http://www.torinmonahan.com/papers/pdc2000.pdf is just one example.
  • 40. Despite the uncertainty of best practices in the field, it is certain that the use of computers in collaborative learning classes will be increasing in the next few years. Unfortunately, as with the large lecture hall space, there is no current CIT owned space that is configured for this type of use. Converting one of the existing general labs to a 20 seat flexible instructional lab is inadvisable due to the locations and usage patterns of the existing spaces. If an appropriate new space could be located, creating an experimental flex lab would be an excellent initial step. The Mix of Instructional and General Labs: Entering the 2004 – 05 academic year, CIT will have only 2 remaining instructional labs. Past class load, plus the expected increases suggest that these will not be enough. However, converting existing general labs to instructional use, while an eventual possibility, is not a good immediate solution. The existing general labs in the Robert Purcell Community Center and Clara Dickson Hall are too far from central campus to be good academic labs. The current lab in Noyes Community Center is also poorly located, and is also scheduled for demolition in 2007. The labs in Carpenter Hall and Uris Library are in reasonably central locations, but are both heavily used for general computing at this time, so immediately re-purposing them as instructional facilities would cause problems for the student population. Additionally, the Uris Library room is not well suited to any standard instructional configurations due to its shape and size. If general usage does decline in the next few years, the Carpenter Hall lab could potentially be converted to an instructional facility at some point. If converted though, Carpenter would likely end up as an approximately 30 seat instructional lab, which would not add significantly to the range of offerings that CIT could provide. If the need for an additional mid-range lab becomes evident, the conversion should be strongly considered at that time. As a long term goal, the labs that CIT provides should eventually all serve specific academic purposes. Instructional Lab Layouts: As indicated in the previous sections, a variety of layouts should be available for instruction. It is evident from the focus group data, however, that the layout currently in the Upson lab is not popular with faculty. In order to better serve the current needs, the Upson lab should be converted to a “rows facing front” layout. Future instructional labs should be designed using either the rows facing front, or flexible layouts depending on the intent of the space.
  • 41. Committee Recommendations: CIT must continue to search for a variety of opportunities to create new instructional spaces. Any spaces that can be allocated should be designed as an excellent instructional space rather than designed to house the maximum number of computer systems as possible. Ideally, CIT should seek to add a large lab of approximately 60 computers and a smaller collaborative instructional space of approximately 20 systems to its existing instructional services. The existing layout in the Upson lab should be changed to better accommodate current academic needs. If usage of existing general labs declines, thought should be given to the possibility of converting those spaces to instructional use or improving the potential for student collaborative use.
  • 42. Computer Training Labs: The lack of computer Training Labs has had, and will continue to have, a negative impact on the Academic mission of the CIT instructional Labs. As demonstrated in Appendix II, nearly 60% of the instructional hours scheduled in the CIT labs during the period of July 1, 2002 – April 9, 2003, were non-academic training sessions. This is the equivalent of 108 full 8-hour days of training during that period, or an estimated total of 144 8-hour days in FY04. With the OMB instructional lab due to be closed at the end of July, 2004, CIT will be losing 1/3 of its available teaching hours for FY05. This will leave only 2 instructional labs available to handle the load that has been spread among 3 labs in the past. Prior to FY01, most training sessions were conducted in the 123, B-5, or B-6 CCC training labs. When those labs closed, all of the training needs were left without any facilities. All existing training, along all new computer training needs have been referred to the CIT academic labs for resources. This has resulted in the great increase in training leading to the current crisis. Clearly, the quantity of non-academic training that is being conducted in the CIT instructional labs is having a significant impact on overall lab availability, and the problem will be magnified by the loss of the OMB lab. Continuing along the current course will result in serious conflicts between academic and non-academic instruction, and will also severely impact number of hours available for students to use the labs for academic assignments. Committee Recommendation: Since the CIT labs are intended to be an academic resource, training needs must be accommodated elsewhere. It is our understanding that CIT training is in the process of investigating these same issues, and plans to purchase laptop computers to provide some level of support to the training needs of the campus. We feel that any plan for training support must include training space along with computing resources to successfully answer the needs of the campus. At least 2 spaces should be identified, reserved, and advertised to the campus. Those spaces can be CIT owned and available for free, CIT owned and available for a fee, or even outsourced to an off-campus provider. Once these spaces have been allocated, the CIT academic labs should refuse any and all non-academic classes, referring them instead to the appropriate provider. There should be no exceptions to this new policy.
  • 43. OIT/CIT Leadership: Obviously, many of the initiatives recommended in this document will require a great deal of planning and coordination. Since nearly all aspects of the proposed strategic plan have significant impact on multiple units, or are even university-wide in scope, OIT/CIT, as Cornell’s central information technologies provider, must provide the leadership and coordination necessary to ensure the success of Cornell’s academic computing environment. Beyond the coordination of the specific strategic plan initiative, we have determined that there is a need for greater coordination of public computing in general. Each unit that supplies public computers is typically doing so independently, without contact with other units. Creating a public computing roundtable could open up better communications between the disparate suppliers of public computing, and allow for better coordination of software versions, improved sharing of solutions to common problems, better coordination of resource allocation, and very possibly several other benefits. Committee Recommendations: Create a Cornell Public Computing Roundtable Take the lead coordination role in creating and implementing a strategic plan for academic computing at Cornell, including: • Negotiation of laptop/portable computer recommendations with Colleges • Negotiation with vendors for laptops/portables volume purchases • Creation of a Cornell service and support center • Increased coordination of software licensing for campus • Coordination of physical security storage lockers • Creation of central application server
  • 44. Committee Recommendations: (Do we agree on this?) In order to allow the CIT labs to focus on their primary mission of supporting the academic needs of the university, steps must be taken to alleviate the overuse and crowding of the existing labs. Several different options have been evaluated • CIT should provide general Academic computing resources, allowing departmental labs to handle the specialized needs of their units. • CIT must provide more central organization for public computing o A public computing roundtable for exchange of information o A designated person to organize all public computing initiatives with campus o Hardware and software solutions for the campus o Better consulting services and support for unit labs o Standard guidelines for configuration and operation of computer labs. • Access to more high technology for students to relieve unit labs from creating single specialized systems. • Create many secure locker locations for temporary storage of student laptop computers and other personal items. • Expand Red Rover wireless network coverage on campus o Red Rover service should be expanding in FY04 due to reduced cost • Recommend a small number of portable computers for students to purchase o Negotiate volume pricing and extended warrantee coverage for those systems o Register all systems purchased through this program with Cornell police • Provide an on-campus service and support center for those recommended systems • Provide each student with secure server-based storage for saving work • Provide a secure central applications server for course software • Create a Cornell Active Directory with Kerberos principals to provide security and appropriate access to Cornell systems
  • 45. (Optional: match recommendations to CIT strategic plans) If the CIT strategic plan is completed in time. Once the committee recommendations are completed, we can look at the CIT strategic plan and try to make connections between each recommendation and 1 or more strategic plan elements.

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