Academic Computing Resource Center
Mission, goals and objectives
The Academic Computing Resource Center (ACRC) provides microcomputers for direct
student use and for faculty use in teaching students; assists instructors in
installing classroom applications on the network; and researches possible
strategies to make available appropriate technology to deliver educational and
The center provides intellectual access to information through all means of
electronic transfer; physical access to information by all students whether as
part of an organized class activity or through individual exploration; a
learning environment that will allow the student to develop skills in working
with electronic information; leadership, instruction, and consulting assistance
in the use of work station technology; support to both the School of Liberal
Arts and Sciences and the School of Education through access to electronic
classrooms and resources maintained on the local area network.
Students and faculty have access to approximately 160 work stations including
one open lab. Classrooms equipped with computer work stations are generally used
for classes although these classrooms are available to students between classes.
The primary resource ACRC provides is an open lab which is available to all
students. Students can use the work stations for any length of time when they
are available and the center is open. Since the center offers open access to the
workstations, students develop responsible behavior with regard to sharing
resources and accessing public electronic media. To the studentsÕ credit no
major equipment has been lost or damaged in the open areas.
The applications primarily accessed by the students are the same as used by any
professional occupationÑInternet, email, and office applications (word
processing, spreadsheets, and databases). Through this access, students learn
lifelong skills that will assist in all levels of professional communication,
one of the key instructional components in a comprehensive liberal arts
education. Western is investigating different modes of delivery for courseware,
and the ACRC will be involved as ideas begin to form.
Most of the demand is for office resources (word-processing, spreadsheet, email
and Web access). However, many courses now have specific software to support
instruction, such as PC Globe for geography, Editor Five for writing,
statistical packages for psychology and sociology, and Derive for mathematics.
Courses such as Mathematics and Technology (MTCS 100), Computer Applications for
Business (CS 121), and Computers and Society (CS 101) are taught exclusively
within the computer resource classrooms using a curriculum model which requires
full access to computer technology.
These classes put additional pressure on the ACRC because of the need to
schedule classroom time. The staff must check in between classes to make sure
work stations are ready for the next class and students do not enter between
classes and begin to use work stations for their own work. The ACRC tries to
keep available as many work stations as possible for general student use when
classes are not in session.
Western has an excellent academic computing center: all work stations are within
one generation of general microcomputers on the market; users have full access
to the Internet; users have a full array of general applications; faculty are
able to request and mount class software and create electronic groups relative
to courses and can access library resources within the state and on CD-ROM.
To date the ACRC staff has not been involved in planning for addition,
modification or deletion of curricular materials. Part of the reason is the
mission of the ACRC, which is to serve the direct needs of students. Only in the
past five years has the issue of technology in curriculum design become
important. Since the ACRC is service-oriented, software or computer access is
arranged to meet requests from a professor or department.
Through its director the center has been involved in implementing successful
curricula in mathematics and computer science. Western offers a combined course,
Mathematics and Technology (MTCS 100), which is taught in an ACRC classroom
designed for courses combining cooperative learning and technology. This course
has been successful: 90% of the students taking the course pass, and the content
is superior to the content of the two courses taught individually.
The center has established hiring policies and procedures, conduct policies for
student employees, rental fees for outside access to facilities, and conduct
guidelines for students when working with electronic information. All equipment
upgrades are approved through the Student Technology Fee Committee. Equipment
selected for purchase is obtained through the Educational Media Department and
their vendors for computer equipment.
The Student Technology Fee Committee consists of at least four students, two
faculty members, and representation from student services and administration.
The committee has the responsibility to determine how income generated through
the student technology fee will be dispersed . Because both faculty and students
are represented, discussions within the group have led to a greater campus-wide
awareness of the needs for technology. The committee makes decisions by
In 1996 two other committees have improved campus-wide awareness: the Academic
Information Service Committee of the Faculty Senate, and the ad hoc computer
services task force which is chaired by the provost and addresses campus-wide
technology issues. The computer services committee has been able to coordinate
an upgrade to the campus local area network (LAN) backbone, establish outside
dial-in service to faculty and staff, and determine the current level of need
for training, applications, and hardware. Western is in the process of creating
a permanent planning process for addressing educational information resource
Each year the ACRC creates a set of objectives regarding equipment upgrades and
changes in procedures. These are printed in the annual report. All objectives
regarding hardware and software are approved by the Student Technology Fee
Committee. All objectives regarding procedures are reviewed with the provostÕs
staff. Additionally each year, the ACRC provides in the annual report a list of
all completed projects. This gives the ACRC a clear year-to-year listing of the
changes that have taken place over the years.
The center services more than 30% of the college population. During the school
year 1995-96, the ACRC computer network had over 400,000 log ins, which
translates to 165 log ins per hour from 155 workstations. Over 2,000 of the
student population of 3,800 are active users of their network accounts.
The ACRC director reports directly to the provost and is assisted by an
administrative specialist with 10 years of experience, a user support analyst I,
and approximately 25 student assistants per term. Primary responsibilities of
the administrative specialist include managing the ACRC on a day-to-day basis,
supervising all student employees, keeping accurate budget records, and
communicating with the director. One major drawback is the directorÕs part-time
(.25 FTE) appointment.
The user support analyst I is a new position filled in February 1996. The person
hired has a bachelorÕs degree in computer science. This person provides network
management services and helps instructors and students install and use software.
The open lab is located in ITC 002 which has 2,700 square feet of floor space
and is equipped with 40 Pentium and 23 Macintosh workstations all connected to
the local area network. The room also has a laser 5simx printer and four express
email stations. In addition, room ITC 001, containing 900 square feet of floor
space and 16 Macintosh full media workstations, is connected to ITC 002 and is
available in the evening. ACRC also schedules ITC 007, ITC 006, ITC 310 and ITC
311, each of which has from 17 to 22 computers for class use. When they are not
scheduled for classes, they are available for student use on a need basis.
Primarily classrooms are opened for general student use only when ITC 002
becomes full, usually near the end of the term.
Classroom student workstations are scheduled an average of 30 hours per week.
More classes would be scheduled if rooms were available. That is, courses
scheduled during the peak of the day, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., utilize all available
rooms. Based upon all factorsÑuse of open stations, classroom and network
facilitiesÑWestern is utilizing equipment close to maximum.
ACRC provides students with optimal access to its services. Because student use
increases as the term progresses and more class assignments are given, the
operating hours, by the fourth week of each term, are 8 a.m. through 10 p.m.
Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Fridays, and noon through 10 p.m.
Sundays. Towards the end of the term hours are extended to midnight Sunday
through Thursday and a second room is opened to handle overflow from the open
lab. During all open hours, two student assistants are availableÑone to operate
the main desk and another to assist students at their workstations with
application access problems. Student assistants are not course tutors; their
role is to help students learn to use the technology.
In addition to the student technology fee, The ACRC is supported by general
funding from the provostÕs budget. In 1996 $240,000 was collected in technology
fees and $70,000 came from the provostÕs budget. The director and administrative
specialist positions and maintenance costs of office equipment and supplies are
funded through the provostÕs budget. The user support analyst position, student
assistant positions for general desk coverage and tutorial help, all equipment
replacement, maintenance (including that for file servers and communication
lines) and lab supplies are funded through the fee. With funding from both
sources, the center has the support to keep equipment updated so that users have
reliable access to the Internet and current applications.
With the revenue from the fee, the ACRC can treat all hardware as depreciable
items and thus replace the equipment on a timely basis.
Changes since the last report
During the past nine years, the use of all resources has grown steadily as more
faculty require computer technology to support current coursework. In the past
10 years, student use increased from 63,957 logged hours in 1986-87 to 122,979
logged hours in 1995-96. In the past year the number of log ons to all file
servers has doubled. This increase reflects the desire of students to use the
Internet to find information and to stay in contact with other people through
During the 1994-95 academic year ACRC: purchased 16 PowerMac computers for the
Macintosh classroom; purchased a scanner and HP Laser 4 printer for the
Macintosh classroom; purchased a new video projection system for the Macintosh
classroom; purchased a new HP Laser 4m printer for the Macintosh classroom;
moved Mac IIsi computers from the Macintosh classroom to the main lab;
distributed older Macintosh computers to faculty; disposed of old Mac+ computers
through proper channels; replaced the AC1 fileserver; put all Macs on the Novell
file server; purchased Novell 4 upgrade for the AC1, AC2, AC3 and CS file
servers; built shelves under all computer tables in the classrooms to hold
computers up off floor; put all computers on the BootP program allowing Internet
access from all; purchased 3 NW 486-33 Towers for the ACRC lab; placed old HP
Laser III printers on tables to be used as printers for students with laptop
computers; upgraded all 486 and 386 machines to either 16 or 8 megabytes of RAM;
upgraded to Microsoft Office from Word V2.0 and Excel V4.0; added a second
Diskview Tower to the network; added power protection for servers AC1, AC2, and
AC3; replaced the Zenith 386s in library rooms with seven 486 stations and one
Mac; purchased uniform software licenses for software installed on all Macintosh
Below is a list of the projects completed during the 1995-96 academic year.
Projects are scheduled each year when there would be the least disruption of
services to students, mostly during summer and between terms.
During the 1995-96 academic year the student technology fee paid for completion
of the following projects. The college: purchased 18 Pentium computers for the
Main Lab ITC 002; installed an instructor station in Mod 007 to support the
teaching of foreign languages; purchased a Scanner and Zip drive for ITC 002 and
ITC 007; set-up eight-port dial-in access through a Shiva interface; placed
three Performa Macintosh computers in the Music lab, Smith Hall; placed a
Pentium 100 computer in the Career Development Center; replaced five instructor
stations with Pentium multimedia stations in rooms ITC 001, 006, 305, 310 and
311; placed five Performa Macintosh computers in the Curriculum Lab, ITC 205;
placed three laser disc players in ITC 205; placed 7 Performa Macintosh
computers in the main lab, ITC 002; placed audiovisual cables on Performa
Macintosh computers in ITC 007 to interface VHS players with computers for
multimedia video production projects; placed an HP Laserjet 855c color printer
in the main lab, ITC 002; placed an HP 5si printer in the main lab, ITC 002, to
speed up printing; upgraded software for Macintosh workstations so that all
stations in ITC 002, 007, 205, 211 and library are current; added components to
handicapped station in the main lab, ITC 002; improved handicapped access to the
main lab, ITC 002, by installing an automatic door; hired a user support analyst
I to maintain student access to the network; placed boot ROMS in all computers
throughout ACRC so that all stations will boot up to the network; changed
ethernet thin cable to TBase10 wiring in ITC 002 and ITC 001; installed a
network switch to isolate communication between rooms and fileservers, thus
stabilizing communication on the network; replaced wiring from the ITC main
building to wings with category-five wire, bringing this leg of the network up
to current standards for network wiring; upgraded the student fileserver Baron
to Novell specifications prescribed for Version 4.1; upgraded the AC3 student
fileserver to a Pentium base; upgraded Novell and SAS licenses.
The following projects should be accomplished over the next year to keep the
current lab usable and to advance the mission of ACRC. Projects are listed
according to priority.
Develop a process to allow students living on campus to connect to the ACRC
network from their living quarters.
Upgrade all licenses to integrate software access in line with the philosophy of
a Novell v4 network. That is, all software should be metered and available to
all users on the network.
Develop a system of communication between all deans, faculty, and staff involved
in purchasing, installing, and maintaining hardware and software to provide
consistent campus-wide information regarding computer products and electronic
communication over the networks.
Develop a system of communication between ACRC, the School of Liberal Arts and
Sciences and the School of Education to determine classroom computing needs for
scheduled classes including required software.
Develop a second smaller Macintosh classroom.
Develop a process to update faculty about site licenses for software and a
software distribution process.
Integrate the management of the academic Sequent computer into the management of
the ACRC network.
Replace the 10 remaining Zenith 386 workstations because they will not run
To meet the centerÕs mission in 1996-97, a uniform campus-wide LAN will be built
through the purchase and installation of three fileservers to support Novell
V4.1 technology. This LAN will support student, faculty and classroom access in
a uniform manner.
List of backup materials
Academic Computing Resource Center Annual Reports, 1988-89Ñ1995-96
Hiring Policies for Student Employees
Job Description: Administrative Specialist 1
Job Description: User Support Analyst 1
Room Rental Fee Schedule for Non-WOSC use
Student Conduct Policy
Student Dial-In Instructions
Student Employee Application
Student Employee Training Information