University of Nebraska - Lincoln
June 30, 2009
As part of a comprehensive review of campus information technology services, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) administration distributed open-ended surveys to campus stakeholder groups to help gauge campus opinions regarding information services provided at UNL at the beginning of September 2008. The survey was based on recommendations from The Advisory Board Company, a Washington, D.C. based firm providing research and consulting services to a number of research universities, including UNL, and a position paper prepared by UNL's Faculty Senate's Computational Facilities and Services Committee. The survey included the following four open-ended questions:
- Given that UNL's top priorities are to offer the Best Undergraduate Education and to achieve Excellence in Research, please list and describe the top 10 information technology services that UNL requires now or within the next five years to effectively carry out these missions (Examples: enhanced computational capacity, visualization or other specialized computing centers). In this report, answers to this question are summarized under the word
- The UNL Facilities and Computing Services report and our consulting report from THE ADVISORY BOARD recommend that we identify services that might be provided centrally in order to both provide better service and realize cost savings for academic units. Please list and describe your top 10 services that could be provided more efficiently and/or effectively if offered centrally and provide your criteria for effective service. (Example: servers purchased and maintained centrally that provide both Internet and local area network applications for campus units). In this report, answers to this question are summarized under the word
- Please describe those information services that are now provided by UNL that might be done more effectively if they were outsourced and include your reasons for these choices (Example: outsourced Student Email). In this report, answers to this question are summarized under the word
- Please describe information technology services that are provided centrally now that you believe UNL no longer needs to support campus-wide and could be provided more effectively by individual units needing the service. In this report, answers to this question are summarized under the words
Decentralize or Eliminate.
Groups were asked to provide consensus responses while individual members of each group could offer additional comments if they believed the group response did not adequately express their views. A maximum of 10 items was allowed for each question. Surveys were collected during the Fall Semester of 2008.
The responses to the survey were collected into a database. This report is an overview of the responses as compiled by a panel of three campus representatives with the assistance of The Gartner Group. The on-campus panel consisted of Gary Aerts, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Information Services, Bill Nunez, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, and Ron Roeber, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Thirty-one stakeholder groups and eight individuals submitted completed surveys. Although the range of responses dealt with a large and varied number of concerns, this report consists of a summary the highest rated responses in the context of the following themes.
- User access to and experience with campus information technology services;
- Organization of campus information technology services and infrastructure; and
- Information technology services in direct support of the campus missions.
Not all group responses were in agreement; however, some items and observations were frequently mentioned by a significant number of the responding groups. Generally speaking, on the UNL campus, the following sentiments prevail:
- There is support for central coordination of data storage, distribution, and security.
- There is a preference for decentralized end-user support with local technicians getting higher-level support from a central group of experts.
- There is a concern that on-line services are not coordinated and some are poorly designed. Users would benefit from more consistency in the user interface of these services with a focus on user experience.
- The future of research includes a greater role for simulations and modeling. The campus should invest and organize technologies in support of research computing on campus.
- There is support for a central role in coordinating, testing and applying innovative applications in teaching and learning.
- Many people on campus are confused about what information technology services are available and where to find them.
Summary of Categories
A. User Access and Experience
Identity Management and Single Sign-on 
Need: The campus should provide the mechanism to allow users to sign into multiple network-based services using a single user id and password combination. The present situation is confusing and difficult to manage for users. Individuals have a tendency to exhibit bad
passwordhabits. The uncoordinated access to multiple services requires more work by more groups on campus to maintain security of these resources. Leadership for the selecting and implementing a technology solution to this problem should be centralized activities. Additional centralized services that should fall under the single sign-on regime include access to the wireless network and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) access to campus resources from remote locations such as a user's home.
Technology Tools and Services 
Need: Survey results show strong support for maintenance and continued development of high-speed network connectivity for the campus. Campus groups believe that future technology developments will present opportunities that will require UNL to continue to improve network bandwidth to labs, classrooms and desktops. E-mail was identified as a critical application that needs to be accessible on devices beyond a user's desktop. Some concerns and criticisms were raised regarding Lotus Notes, many new faculty and staff come to UNL having used more conventional products and they find the product difficult to learn and use. There is satisfaction with some Lotus Notes services, such as access to campus address books. Students support campus-provided printing services for students (UniPrint), but they would prefer the service should be available at all hours and from remote locations/computers, not just in campus computer labs.
Centralize: Even though some groups believe that cell phones and portable devices might best be left to outsourcing, there is considerable support for having the campus coordinate and support mobile devices in support of network applications. There is a sentiment that mobile devices will become a preferred mechanism for accessing all on-line services and that this trend is well underway.
Respondents say the university should make better use of modern on-line tools (social networking) in the educational process and to communicate with campus community. The campus should explore ways to integrate and share data that is collected on campus, across all missions to facilitate better decision-making and the delivery of higher-level services. This data sharing could especially be valuable as it pertains to student experiences and campus communication.
Outsource: Explore the outsourcing of faculty e-mail if student e-mail project is a success; other groupware products such as calendaring, collaboration tools might also be candidates. Any outsourcing of campus technology services must address security concerns as in addition to economic ones. Support was given for the outsourcing of student e-mail. A careful and thorough review process should be developed to determine which services represent viable candidates for outsourcing. The review policy should provide adequate opportunity stakeholder input.
Training and support 
Need: There was a strong call for better IT training for faculty and staff; suggestions include better coordination (centrally) of training efforts that seem to faculty and staff to be dispersed among different units on campus. Better training in particular needs to be provided for web applications and other applications developed by the campus.
Respondents offer a variety of opinions regarding support functions; these might best be summarized as follows. Local support, close to the individual (unit based) is perceived to be the best model. However, there is an acknowledgement that more specialized expertise can assist the local provider with problems that are more difficult and wide ranging. Even given decentralized desktop support, groups believed that professional development for these distributed staff could be coordinated and provided centrally. Some groups believed user support should be made available 24/7.
Centralize: Some coordination of desktop support services to backfill and enhance local tech support would be valuable. There is resistance to a centralized, coordinated support model that would replace local management of desktop support. Central coordination of support for distance education delivery and students is another area where the campus could improve services.
Evaluating new technologies should also be coordinated centrally to some degree to prevent redundant efforts. Some suggested the campus recommend standard application formats (MS Office, Blackboard, etc) to simplify support. Note that THE ADVISORY BOARD report suggested that incentives, rather than decrees, be used to reach agreed-upon standards. Training and support resources should include
best practicesdocumentation where appropriate.
One group suggested the campus pursue a more centrally coordinated hiring and training program for IT professionals. The campus could help determine standard skills for campus IT job candidates and play a supporting role in hiring staff that works in campus units. This would help ensure that technology qualifications were met and foster coordination between the campus and units.
Outsource: Outsource training in a formal and centralized manner for many common desktop and web-based applications that are not unique to UNL.
Decentralize: Localized desktop support is a service that is highly valued; this is a strong theme in the survey results. The training and support needs vary by unit with some needing only generic training services while other units require more specialized and complex solutions. More specialized software training, such as discipline/mission specific; i.e. reporting tools for the student information system or specialized statistical tools, should be supported by the units that use these systems.
Hardware sales and Software Licenses 
Centralize: Provide a centralized, campus service for negotiating and distributing licenses for commonly used software. Each unit should have the option of negotiating their own license as appropriate for discipline-specific or special needs software. This effort should be coordinated in order that units can be informed of all licenses and negotiations that are undertaken on campus. Better communication could prevent units from duplicative negotiations and licenses. Better coordination would allow the campus, when appropriate, to help with negotiations if license could server a larger campus audience. In general, license negotiations should be coordinated and lead by the campus. The campus should also to seek licensing partnerships within the University of Nebraska system and with consortiums of related institutions when feasible. Students would like to have a greater variety of software tools available through campus-wide licensing (web authoring, image manipulation, statistical software).
Centralize/Decentralize: Mixed opinions were offered on the prime vendor hardware contracts. Some support these contracts, while others think it not necessary and that the situation may limit benefits of competition. The software fees added to computer purchases for Microsoft software contribute to the perceived pricing issues related to prime vendor contracts. Some units believe they can negotiate better deals directly.
Online services 
Need: The campus should develop and support a greater array of on-line, web-based services and applications. A great number of users, especially students, are well versed in such applications, which they use to access services outside of the University. The campus offers a number of web-based services but they are often inconsistent and unaware of the existence of one another. For example, students signing up for classes must switch between WAM and a page of course listings; although functionally, this process lacks the elegance student are accustomed to finding in other web-based applications.
There is support for the University to pursue a user-focused web effort. The concept of a developing a portal where content is customized for the user and the interface is consistent across applications is seen as a critical need. This would also be useful to external users of our site-where content could be delivered based on the role of the individual (SmartSite); prospective student, enrolled student, faculty, staff, alumni, or general public. In conjunction with a consistent user experience, units would like access to a robust and uniform e-commerce application to facilitate payments and sales in a consistent manner.
Applications in support of the student experience such as online advising, course valuation and learning assessment tools should be integrated with other campus technology tools such as Blackboard and the Student Information System. Applications that are used by faculty/staff should also work more closely together including EARFA/Digital measures, NUGrant, and the Student Information System.
Decentralize: The campus should grant greater latitude to departments to access business data and services in SAP and SIS. Such access should be useful for analysis and informed decision-making.
B. Campus Organization
Computational Capacity 
Need: The campus needs to define a replacement policy and funding mechanism to ensure all faculty have adequate, up-to-date desktop computing capability. Some units lag behind in desktop technology.
Leadership and Coordination 
Need: The campus should develop a campus strategic vision for information technology and promote strong IT leadership that can guide the campus investments and energies in accordance with this plan. UNL requires more campus-wide coordination in information technology service development and delivery. Campus leadership includes demonstrating technologies and promoting use of best practices. Faculty and staff should have access to a directory that clearly identifies the role and scope of different technology services offered on the campus by different units.
Decentralize: The responsibility for implementing and enforcing policies should be localized. This includes security policies such as good password behaviors. The campus should coordinate web infrastructure such as templates and content management systems, but content creation and maintenance should be distributed to the units.
Need: Information technology security is a concern raised by a number of groups. The campus is thought to be providing too little coordinated security support. A more comprehensive plan needs to be developed with a strong communications effort that includes awareness, education, policies and best practices.
Centralize: The campus should adopt and promote the use of standard and secure protocols and infrastructure to allow secure and safe interactions with external campus technology resources. The campus should also take responsibility for security audits even if this requires more staffing and resources.
Campus Network 
Need: Groups expressed strong support for continued investments to upgrade and support the campus network infrastructure. Network investments should be in sync with the campus strategic plans. UNL's future is linked to its ability to accommodate sophisticated computer and telecommunications applications. The network could one day host most of UNL's communications needs including phone, delivery of closed circuit television, video-on-demand, etc. The network must exhibit high reliability and be able to support higher bandwidth applications. High capacity bandwidth should extend to the desktop in many instances.
Centralized: Some respondents believed that the campus cost of ownership for network services is higher than it would be in business or other universities. This comment was associated with a comment on port fees and the cost of the network to smaller units.
Although wireless networking is pervasive on campus, there was strong support for
completing this part of thenetwork on campus to promote ubiquitous wireless access everywhere on campus for students, faculty and staff. Some responses called for easier registration to the wireless network for visitors and guests. Presently there are very few areas on campus that are not covered by a campus wireless signal.
- Campus Server/Computing Infrastructure
Need: The campus should demonstrate leadership and provide services to manage the growing number of its digital assets with robust data storage and backup systems. A central campus authority could more effectively manage high capacity and secure data repositories. Many data storage issues are important to the institution and should be subject policy guidance as well as technology support. A digital warehouse system should be developed for important data that needs to be preserved and distributed according to campus policy. The institution should aggressively address the issue of campus digital assets, which goes beyond just storage and includes cataloging, searching and retrieving data with consideration of rights of use. A strategic vision for data storage and stewardship should be developed in conjunction with an information technology strategic plan. The campus needs to address rights management issues regarding the sharing and distribution of assets in support of education whether they are produced by instructors or students.
Centralize: Surveys indicate there was strong support from groups to provide data centers that stored data centrally but allowed for secure, distributed access and use. Groups also seem to believe that economies of scale for centrally coordinated data storage could be achieved through campus level coordination. Data backups are also strongly supported for both desktop (NSave) and server-based data.
Related to data storage is a request that the campus provide a more robust web-hosting environment. Present IS-hosted web sites lack the capability to use databases and scripting tools. Units have incentives to deploy and support their own web servers in order to have access to the ability to serve up dynamically-generated content. Such tools offered centrally can be made more secure, reliable and scalable than those offered by smaller units. Support for such services will also be required (training, guidelines, best practices, user support, contract development). More robust support could include offering content management systems to produce unit web pages, allowing units to focus on providing content and less on design and presentation.
Centralizing data storage and web hosting is related to another concern, that of efficient use of energy and so-called
Greencomputing technology. Green computing does include lowering the amount of energy consumption (a centralized system could do so by pooling servers and providing specialized environments). Green computing would also include purchasing computers based on energy consumption and their disposal byproducts.
Outsource: Any services that can be centralized (Data storage, backups, web-hosting) are also candidates for outsourcing.
- Business Software Application Acquisition and Development
Need: The University of Nebraska makes significant investments in SAP, SIS, and Blackboard software platforms that deliver critical functionality in support our business operations and academic endeavors. However, even as comprehensive as these systems are, a number of business and academic processes and functions that are of varying importance to the University are left out of these major systems. Campus units often attempt to fill these voids by commissioning independent software development efforts. Units develop these programs internally (NUGrant), contract with other campus units (Curriculum approval); or turn to other institutions for existing solutions (PEARL in the case of Undergraduate Studies). These gap-filling tools vary in their ability to work with other campus software platforms and each other, even though the ultimate goal of the sponsoring unit is tools will or must complement existing campus software platforms. The choice of development tools and the design of these databases in such programs are often influenced by the favorite tool set of the sponsoring unit and may or may not bear any relationship to the software they may need to work with in the future (ie, SAP, Blackboard, SIS). The burden of integration often falls to the campus information technology group rather than the sponsoring unit.
Centralize: Campus should take leadership in addressing these software needs on campus. All major software initiatives that complement business and academic processes on campus should subscribe to certain design criteria that ensure to the degree possible, compatibility with existing campus software architectures. Provisions for support and maintenance of the software would also need to be addressed. There exists the entire issue of prioritizing such projects. Units will find any number of development options available to them across campus (CBA, CIT, Raikes School, CSE, etc). These resources are often available through inter-fund transfers; priorities are set by those with budgets or those able to find deep pocketed sponsors.
Applying campus information technology resources and data to support academic advising. Some of the basics are provided through the SIS, but much other useful functionality would help advisors and students plan and monitor academic progress.
Telecommunications  outsourcing was mentioned by several respondents. It is true that billing and other communication regarding telecommunications are conducted by campus Information Services, but the telecommunications (phone system) is already outsourced and managed by Windstream.
C. Information Technology and the Campus Mission
- Research Computing
Need: UNL possesses strengths in grid and distributed computing. The Research Computing Facility (RCF) at UNL is funded largely through grants. The surveys included several calls for direct campus investment and coordination of sustainable Research Computing to enhance research productivity and reduce cost by coordinating investments in supporting infrastructure. The computational aspects of research are becoming critically important in a number of key disciplines. These developments should inspire the University to provide sufficient computing power that is readily accessible in order to attract and retain quality researchers.
Support for research computing goes beyond computational capacity and network throughput. Researchers require access to software development resources to customize and adapt research applications that involve bioinformatics, modeling and control programs. Other cyberinfrastructure technology investments should support data visualization/analytics and large-scale data storage.
Decentralize: Even with centralized investments and coordination, individual researchers should still be allowed to purchase and maintain computing resources for their own research needs when RCF cannot meet those needs.
Teaching and Learning 
Need: A quote from one survey —
UNL needs a vision for providing education that is not bounded by location and time. This includes providing better services and support, more technology enhanced classrooms and better incentives for faculty to teach with technology and provide online courses. Additionally, we cannot continue to ignore the growing body of non-traditional learners. Expanding our student base with these audiences makes financial sense.
Blackboard has become a key component in the undergraduate educational experience on the UNL campus. The vast majority of course taught at UNL use blackboard to host course materials, deliver quizzes and collect homework. Blackboard and its components are also heavily used in distance education sponsored by UNL. The Blackboard license and supporting labor and infrastructure is largely funded with student technology fees. As other options become available and the cost of Blackboard license increases, some respondents believe the university should consider possible alternatives to Blackboard especially with a new SIS coming on board. Before making such a decision, however, benefits of a new system would need to be weighed against the faculty and time that would be invested in learning the new system. The campus must ensure adequate support for funding and managing Blackboard or any courseware product as well as other software platform that support education. (Adobe Connect, H.329 videoconferencing).
To more effectively and efficiently deploy instructional technology, UNL should sponsor a sustainable mechanism for faculty and staff to explore, research and test new emerging technologies that have the potential to enhance the University's ability to deliver on its mission. Such an innovation center would facilitate communications and coordinate efforts across the campus and reduce the number of redundant experimentation and allow groups from around campus to collaborate on such effort. Campus should support pedagogical research on emerging instructional technologies in addition to assessing technologies this effort should assist the campus with prioritization, planning and deployment for products and services. This will help address sustainability issues prior to rolling out new campus technologies.
In addition to technologies in support of resident instruction, the campus needs to support reliable and cost effective distance education strategies for graduate and under graduate education as well as cooperative extension and other educational outreach efforts. This would include coordinating support services related to distance education and developing coordinated technology platforms.
Centralization: A growing number of academic programs are incorporating the use of video in various forms, from videoconferencing to production of video content to analysis of video from external sources to capturing and distributing lectures. Video production expertise should supported and coordinated campus-wide to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
Some groups suggested that UNL support the development and deployment of learning and teaching assessment tools such as on-line course evaluations; outcomes assessment; and student portfolio development.
There is strong support that course management software (Blackboard) be supported and used campus-wide. There is also support for centrally supported collaboration and meeting room software (Adobe Connect). Support is also expressed for web-based course evaluation capability, which provides access to evaluation data for faculty use that could be integrated with the learning management system and annual faculty reports.In addition to Blackboard, a number of courses make use of on-line testing software originally developed by at UNL called EDU/MapleTA. There are a number of faculty groups that would like strong campus support for EDU and MapleTA: To quote,
The web-based student assessment service provided by EDU and MapleTA is an essential component of courses in many departments across campus, especially in large-enrollment undergraduate courses in math and the sciences. For at least the last five years, there have been over 10,000 actively used student accounts on the EDU server every year. In Fall 2007 alone, well over 650,000 assignments were created, administered, and graded for UNL students on the EDU server. This service plays a crucial role in core freshman classes such as Math 106, Psyc 181, and PolS 100.It is worth noting that the student response cited EDU as a tool that the campus should consider replacing with better alternatives.
Distribute: Instructional design support for online course material may best be provided with expertise assigned to specific units. Having people working with the units seems more effective than a central service that tries to be all things to all people. Presently, the Instructional Design Center, housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences, provides both instructional and research support for faculty in that unit. The current model in which the service is housed within the college but provides services across the University community works extremely well. Services do not need to be coordinated by the campus to benefit the entire campus.
Need: The UNL campus should equip all general-purpose (GP) classrooms with appropriate instructional technology, including technology to provide accessibility to students with disabilities, and adequately fund the ongoing support, maintenance and replacements costs for all such classrooms. Now 55 percent of these classrooms have up-to-date technology with complete funding for maintenance, support and replacement pending a request to UNL administration. Central support should be available for non-general purpose departmental classrooms in a timely manner and reasonably priced. There is a perception that there is a lack of communication between the campus technology support and individual units.
There is also call to improve the Personal Response System (PRS or clickers) for classroom instructions. During the fall of 2008, the present system still suffered from a lot of software bugs. These glitches created difficulties and confusion for students, and were frustrating for faculty. The company has since patched the software and the frequency of problems seems to be decreasing.
The campus should also invest in telecommuting/teleconferencing tools to aid remote instruction and collaboration. The campus should support a number of reliable distance education classrooms equipped with high definition two-way audio/video capability. The additional equipment required to provide such capability should be complementary to and build upon instructional technology supported in campus general-purpose classrooms. Such classrooms would accommodate multi-location instruction (Lincoln and Omaha, Global Classroom) and other forms of distance education sponsored by UNL and its partners. In addition to high end, hardware-bases solutions the campus should also support a set of network based collaboration tools that could facilitate software-based remote collaboration (Adobe Connect). Expansion of remote video capacities would make it easier for the University to participate in the variety of related networks (i.e. the state's TeleHealth Network). The campus should continually assess the state of teleconferencing technology and adapt with trends in the industry.
Students observe that other, more traditional teaching technologies are often in need of repair and upgrade. There are many teaching labs on campus stocked with microscopes that are old and out of date. Also, there are video projectors in general purpose teaching facilities that need to be updated.
Centralize: The classroom technology advisory committee among others suggests the UNL campus should coordinate design and appropriate levels of support for instructional technology installed in general-use, college and departmental classrooms. GP classrooms are managed by ITG (Instructional Technology Group) in Information Services (IS). All classrooms are configured with a standard set of equipment and consistent installation configurations. Many departments use ITG to design and install equipment in their own classrooms. By using the infrastructure developed for the GP classrooms, departments could take advantage of automated monitoring systems that detect problems and anticipate equipment maintenance issues. By adopting GP classroom standards, instructors would be able to move between classroom environments with more confidence. Communications capabilities built into the newer classrooms also allow emergency alerts to be sent to and from teaching counsels in larger classrooms and lecture halls.
Decentralize: There were also suggestions that departmental classroom computers, projectors, and the local departments should continue to be managed by unit-level computer centers for students. Local support for technology in classrooms meets the need for speedy, reliable service – something that may not be the case in a centralized system.
The campus should evaluate the evolving role and current need for campus supported computer labs.
Miscellaneous CommentsNeed: The nature of scholarship is changing in the wake of technological change. The campus needs to acknowledge and support this transformation with investments in the creation, peer review and publishing of electronic scholarship. This may require centralized investments in hardware (server space) and academic collaboration and publishing software.
There was a suggestion that the campus provide better photography services for campus to benefit websites and education efforts on campus.
There were also concerns expressed about potential problems with centralization and outsourcing. In most cases it does not matter where the service comes from, as long as the service is good and the provider is responsive. Services need to work well and work well with each other, as compatibility is very important.
The top four responses from each group for each question are listed below. The number in parenthesis at the end of the comment is the Access database record number of the corresponding response.
4) Ubiquitous centralized authentication (single sign-on) ().
Single sign-on, authentication — rather than separate sign on systems with different passwords. (482)
One password per person versus multiple passwords would be helpful, but may be a trade-off with security. (548)
Providing universal access to IT systems and services for both students and faculty, including a serious revisiting of payment methods (for individuals, departments, units, etc.). (553)
Identity Management & Single Sign-on. Attempting to keep a separate user ID and password for computer-based services results in excessive duplication of effort, inconsistencies and potential security risks. Identity management provides the capability to manage one set of user IDs and passwords for everyone. (15)
Single sign-on (192)
Identity Management & Single Sign-on. Attempting to keep a separate user ID and password for each computer-based services results in excessive duplication of effort, inconsistencies and potential security risks. Identity management provides the capability to manage one set of user IDs and passwords for everyone. (235)
Coordinated universal access to campus network. This would include access to wireless network from anywhere on campus and VPN access from off campus for all faculty and staff that require it. (362)
Directory services, including central authentication (so-called single sign-on) and identity management. (443)
Better Active Directory policies and procedures. There doesn't seem to be a consistent way in managing active directory accounts. Are all offices using the same procedures? Are there any procedures? (302)
5) Increase local internet speed and email account storage for effective communications. (53)
6) More effective training of end users, end users are not aware of what training is available, who is responsible for what when it comes to IT, and more centralized location for finding training options (instead of 5 websites, only 1). (457)
A more reliable internet service, particularly e-mail. (156)
Improve staff email usability and access (PDA/phone/Blackberry). (264)
Lotus Notes e-mail services (I don't know if this is the best e-mail service, but I do really like being connected to the entire university and state government contact list through it). (513)
24x7 support for the student Uniprint system – system that students use to pay for printing. (484)
Mobile devices. As mobile devices are more commonly adopted and used, our faculty, staff and students will come to expect access to all services. A unified communications solution will best serve our University via these devices. (16)
Access to emerging technologies that can be used to better deliver services to students that are not economically feasible for smaller units (such as podcasting, social networking, etc.). (122)
Co-curricular/student life database totranscriptexperiences across departments and units such as internships, travel abroad, service-learning, etc. (123)
E-mail and Mobility Communications Support including PDA and Smartphone support. (253)
Wireless access should be available to all UNL staff — not just students. (301)
Campus-wide email system(442) Telecommunication/e-mail systems — with one address book, directory, etc. (486)
Faculty/staff e-mail and groupware. (1)
Groupware services — not just e-mail but scheduling (calendars), file sharing, online meetings — providing a suite of collaboration tools. (47)
Obviously UNL is moving in the direction of outsourcing e-mail for students. We recognize that it could be useful to consider outsourcing other e-mail systems, and we are aware that other comparable institutions have made such choices with favorable outcomes. The committee feels that the decision to choose an external provider, as well as the selection the external provider AND the choices of feature options in the service that is purchased, should only be made after a thorough discussion with users and constituent groups affected by the service. Our committee should be involved in that process. (564)
E-mail Outsource faculty and staff email services. Enact charges on other email services hosted by UNL units to incorporate their accounts into University Address books, etc. (111)
Student Email would be a prime example for outsourcing. This would reduce hardware and software requirements. Staff time now being used for this service could be reallocated to other priority areas. (143)
E-mail accounts for both faculty and students. (159)
Outsourcing of faculty email might be palatable, if it meant we could free ourselves of Lotus Notes. The impact on faculty and staff efficiency of the use of Lotus cannot be underestimated. Most new employees are not familiar with Lotus and it is not an easy program to learn. Outlook, by comparison is much more intuitive and efficient. (296)
Faculty and staff Email — Lotus Notes email or other email service. (366)
Student email — Currently being implemented. (448)
Faculty/Staff email — Use others' expertise at delivering email services to the campus. (449)
Obviously UNL is moving in the direction of outsourcing e-mail for students. We recognize that it could be useful to consider outsourcing other e-mail systems, and we are aware that other comparable institutions have made such choices with favorable outcomes. The committee feels that the decision to choose an external provider, as well as the selection the external provider AND the choices of feature options in the service that is purchased, should only be made after a thorough discussion with users and constituent groups affected by the service. Our committee should be involved in that process. (564)
There might be a number of services currently provided by a campus-wide unit that could be outsourced, e.g. faculty/staff e-mail. However, attempting to articulate these services would be inappropriate without more careful review. A number of criteria should be considered, including service levels, cost, viability and financial health of the service provider, and the ease with which a service might be again provided by a campus-wide unit should the outsourcing arrangement prove unsuccessful. (24)
The Vice Chancellor's Council regards outsourcing as a viable option only after the most careful review. Services should be better and hopefully less expensive to provide than if the university developed similar services. (46)
24 by 7 IT support for core IT services. Our Academy cannot be a global University unless the availability of support for core IT services expands to meet more global demand. (5)
More experts in informational technology who specialize in the functioning of computer hardware and whose services are available to all campus units; provision of consultants from IT, deeply familiar with the university's system, to assist UNL faculty and staff in the application of new software and in making informed decisions as to the best kind of software to purchase. (157)
Help desk [24/7] with comprehensive help for Blackboard, Breeze, and all other technologies. (162)
Support and training for current and future technologies that are recommended for use for on-campus and distance education students.(163) Coordinate distributed IT support and services across the system. Services are best provided close to those who need them, but there can be a central role to provide standards, professional development for support staff and agreement on levels of support, etc. (248)
Enhanced support and training for employees who use the Web; this training should be supported centrally and updated locally via such software as Dreamweaver. (158)
Help Desk 24/7 that can provide help on all UNL supported technologies. (171)
Technology Centers such as the New Media Center. (172)
A Combined eNroll & Schedule of Classes; Having to switch back and forth between two web browsers, one of which you can hit the back button, the other of which you cannot is confusing and it would be much more efficient if they could be done from the same pages. This way a student could search for their classes and perhaps with just a click of a button, add a class. (327)
Provide technology tracking services and best practice guidelines. A small group should be asked to explore, test, and evaluate new technologies that could affect or be considered for implementation campuswide. This is especially important as we consider students who have grown up with technology and are used to Web-based interaction and social networking. (37)
Technical training. There are common software used throughout the Academy, e.g. Blackboard, MS Office. A central training solution would provide the opportunity for the University community to learn how to best use these common tools. (236)
Provide server resources for all programs and student organizations. Include increased level of disk storage for research and service projects. Provide web server space and dynamic website tools (scripting languages and databases). (363)
Develop robust, online student advising tools for all campus colleges and programs. ()Web-based undergraduate and graduate advising support. (503)
Provide coordinated 24/7 technology help desk service for UNL faculty and students—presently UNL Information Services operates a help desk from 7am-11pm and several units and central administration support some form of help desk. (364)
Support should be provided as close to the users (faculty and staff) as possible. What would be helpful is a second tier of support that provides a higher level of expertise when unit support cannot solve a problem. Systems which help track support issues and allow support personnel to benefit and share resources should be supported at University level. (504)
Better tech support for faculty computers. (58)
Software training. (470)
On-site desktop and user support. Although a centrally supported help center has value to the Academy, it does not replace the critical need to have local technical and user support available. (27)
Research and Extension Centers and county extension offices are, to a large extent, providing their own individual unit IT support. However, a critical element to the success of individual unit support is having readily available contacts at the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in key areas such as connectivity (CSN), network infrastructure and phone system (IS), and mission support (CIT). (50)
Local IT support is critical. (51)
Service to faculty and graduate student computers. (96)
Hands-on user support. (183)
On-site desktop and user support. Although a centrally supported help center has value to the Academy, it does not replace the critical need to have local technical and user support available. (247)
Faculty Desktops. (402)
Other than certain local maintenance and help issues (which might include highly and specialized computational equipment for localized research applications as well as routine office PC issues), the committee did not generate any specific items for this category. However, with the diversity of IT dependent activities and needs across all of UNL (which is likely to include situations of which our members are not directly aware) we expect there will be some examples provided in this category by others which may need to be given serious consideration. (565)
Training support needs a local component. (52)
Generic hardware/software support (should be available locally, but linked with upper level support services provided campus-wide). (88)
Oversight of IT support personnel would be more effectively provided if those support personnel were reporting directly to the local unit. Ultimately some joint oversight might be needed, but if IT personnel oversight is centralized, yet the services are largely provided to a particular unit, there can be a disconnect between needs, expectations, and performance. Departmental tech help should be hired by the department to facilitate a proper marriage of technician with departmental needs. While the needs of some departments are considerably complex, others may just need relatively basic assistance that may be better provided by a trained work-study student. Level 2/3 (advanced) support, training and professional development opportunities for Level 1 technicians however, should be offered centrally. (89)
Special purpose software support. There are specific instances where specialized software is appropriate to only certain units, e.g. Math XL, SAS, SPSS. Support for such software should reside at the unit level. (245)
Unit-specific software purchasing, upgrades, support (for the Press, this includes Cat's Pajamas, TMM, Robotronics, Crystal and SQL report development, etc.). (274)
7) Technology Professional Staffing – Develop a list of job skills and experiences that are required of each type of technology worker on campus. Apply coordinated hiring practices for all campus IT positions that involve certification of skill sets for all IT professionals at all levels of the institution. (104)
A central service for software licenses would be more cost effective than each unit negotiating such licenses. However, each administrative unit should retain the ability to negotiate licenses on its own, with university approval. The idea here is to have a place for a unit to see if UNL has such a license, and to report that the unit is negotiating a license, or a better deal. It could be disastrous if units could only go through a central group to secure software licenses. Such systems often lead to costly delays in obtaining licenses. (288)
A central location for software licenses would be more cost effective than each unit negotiating such licenses. However, each administrative unit must retain the ability to negotiate licenses on its own. The idea here is to have a place for a unit to see if UNL has such a license, and to report that the unit is negotiating a license, or a better deal. It would be disastrous if units could only go through a central group to secure software licenses. Academic freedom and research pursuits require more flexibility. One current example of this is the Microsoft license charged to every PC purchased on campus, although many do not run Windows. (308)
The campus should support and coordinate a wide variety of licensing options and partnerships for more specialized instructional and research software. Where possible such software might be purchased in agreements arranged by the campus, the University of Nebraska system or a consortium of institutions. (368)
Prime vendor contracts – centralize information on what is available through prime vendor contracts. (485)
Hardware & Software contracting – including site licenses. (560)
Student: Specialized Software on More Machines; Specialty software such as: Dreamweaver CS, SPSS, and Photoshop CS should be on more machines. We find that these programs are treated with the same rarity that MatLab or Maple are treated with. However, there should be levels of specialty software. Software like the aforementioned should be on a few more machines while the latter software could afford to be on the same amount as is currently. (328)
Computer Sales currently does not provide competitive pricing and emphasizes Dell products over less expensive alternatives. Mandatory software fees are also troublesome. Either more flexible services should be provided, either locally, or through an outside vendor, or purchasing should become a local function.
Special purpose software support. There are specific instances where specialized software is appropriate to only certain units, e.g. Math XL, SAS, SPSS. Support for such software should reside at the unit level. (25)
Purchasing of computer equipment and software used by faculty and graduate students in a college, but not outside the college. (99)
Purchasing equipment. (131)
Purchasing equipment- the Libraries often get a lower price on printers, etc. by using the prime vendor contracts and not using IS computer store with its mark-up. (490)
9) True Network Printing: Students should be able to print from their own personal computers to designated printers, such as the ones in their own dorm. (316)
More online services available to staff and students. Students are now expecting this type of self service functionality. (322)
Campus Wide Web Content Management System: A software solution such as the one in MS SharePoint Enterprise or eKtron. (161)
CRM-like portal. A customer relationship management portal takes University-focused content and redirects it with a complete focus on the customer experience. The Smart Site initiative begins to consider some aspects of this technology. (220)
The Smart Site Initiative for University Websites could also be a valuable resource to UNL Website users. (250)
integration of (or better connections between) existing databases, e.g., schedule of classes and bulletin course descriptions. (453)
Content management system for the UNL website. (481)
Provide Web-based applications that support teaching and advising. Examples include web-based course evaluation, student tracking for advisement, course management systems, and student and program assessment. (492)
Provide Web-based systems for managing and supporting faculty development and work. Examples include eARFA/digital measure, NUGrant, and faculty training resources such as IRB and search committee training. (493)
Departments need to be able to enter Personnel Action Forms directly into SAP. (261)
Allow departmental access to student database information. We should be able to access our own student's information such as how many students are in our program, what is their grade point average, what classes have the most census?. (473)
10) Enterprise level E-commerce. We need a robust and state of the art web capability for promotion and selling products and services. Included in this work is the infrastructure (accounting, billing, inventory, and shipping) necessary to support this business initiative. ()Centralized E-Commerce Responsibility (limit liability). (67)
E-commerce – Provide a campus solution that all University services offering on-line transactions must use unless specifically exempted. (103)
E-commerce solutions that work across departments and units. (118)
Centralized programming for electronic shopping cart making it financially feasible for smaller departments to expand their online offerings. (251)
Enterprise-wide portal – including E-commerce. A University-wide web presence that serves the entire University community can be best administered in a centralized fashion, even as content is provided by the various University entities and organizations. (36)
Telecommunications, courseware, video/instant messaging, email services. (77)
University data sets should be identified and classified. A central vision for securing, archiving and accessing university data sets should be articulated and implemented.(39) E-commerce system. (190)
Enterprise-wide portal – including E-commerce. A University-wide web presence that serves the entire University community can be best administered in a centralized fashion, even as content is provided by the various University entities and organizations. (17)
Short term e-commerce solutions that allow for cost-effective access to a larger, centralized system. (121)
Business Services. (397)
E-commerce activities including records. (561)
E-store services. (48) E-commerce. (87) E-commerce. (129) (471)
The UNP e-commerce website. (275)
Customer service and order fulfillment equipment and software. (276)
11) We need a better way for faculty to get high-quality, up-to-date computers for their offices. (57)
12) University Communications continued coordination of the University Web templates and validation of those websites to present a consistent and professional look for all UNL Websites. (90)
Desktop computer purchasing: units to retain choice of certain options (for example, Mac or PC; storage capacity)(271) There should be a university wide replacement policy/program for faculty and staff basic computers, e.g. new computers every four years, as needed. (290)
Better communication between east and city campus units. (465)
Visioning and IT leadership. The University needs to be shown how technologies can be harnessed and implemented to further the mission of the Academy. A centralized coordinated effort is needed to provide this leadership, including the identification of technology trends. (237) Communications. (396)
More clear definition with a master list as to who handles what in terms of IT issues. (467)
Delivery of a more sophisticatedGo To Meetingproduct (Adobe has one calledConnect) that allows webinar-type presentations and computer mediated meetings. (514)
(see also, classrooms and distance education)
Implementation of policies. Many policies, while developed centrally, are only effective if implemented at the unit level, e.g. security policies such as creating and protecting passwords. (26) Implementation of policies. Many policies, while developed centrally, are only effective if implemented at the unit level, e.g. security policies such as creating and protecting passwords. (246)
Maintenance to faculty, college, and departmental Web pages. (98)
Extension websites should be more directly controlled by the individual extension faculty. (474)
13) Devote more resources to data and IT security. Security is an issue that affects everyone. Develop a plan that includes awareness, education, policies, best practices and consequences. (249)
Establish, manage, and provide security for campus-wide network infrastructure and associated security protocols. Includes providing connections to high-performance computers, pathways, and other connections to off-campus computer resources. (433)
The technology infrastructure must be robust and reliable. Standards, security, policies and future direction should be derived from collaboration with the campus community and guided from the highest levels. (38) Faculty/staff email system. (174)
Security — that way you have an audit(200) UNL computer security services. Same issue asC immediatelyabove. (451)
Auditing our security system. (468)
Management of campus network infrastructure plan that integrates with UNL's strategic plan. Includes installation and maintenance of network hardware, connections, supporting software, closed circuit TV for campus security purposes, and other services to/from the campus to ensure that UNL's network capacities can meet/exceed UNL's growing and sophisticated computer and telecommunications requirements. (440)
Network support – keep the network up and running speedily. (483)
The cost of network services exceeds the costs commercially available outside UNL. While this service may not be practical to outsource, the continual unabated increases in service costs are a severe drain on fixed operating budgets of departments. For some departments, telecommunication and port charges exceed their operating budget! (294) ( 311)
15) The UNL campus should provide wireless network access in all UNL campus buildings. (147)
Easier wireless access for guests. (117)
Complete the wireless network on campus. (60) Infrastructure for high capacity data bandwidth to the desktop/classroom, etc. (76)
16) High-capacity data storage capability (66) High-capacity bandwidth, to the desktop/classroom/laboratory/extension site, for information exchange (multiple applications for data exchange:
traditional internet, telecommunications, video, etc.). (69)
Normalize data storage;(184) Governance of data security and access/use.(185)
Digital asset management and sharing. The University needs to comprehensibly address all digital assets and content in a manner that facilitates efficient storage and retrieval of documents, audio/visual content, etc. More transparent access to Library assets should also be considered. (223)
Data Warehouse — aggregation of data in one centralized spot rather thansilos.(226)
UNL-AD Profile Hard Drive Space; When users login to UNL-AD they should have their own portion of the Network Drive. Currently the Computer Science Department accomplishes this by providing the Z Drive upon login and allows the user to access anything on the Z Drive anywhere they are logged into cse.unl.edu. (313)
Provide strategic vision, establish, manage, and provide security for campus-wide data storage to ensure efficient use of our servers and related data storage resources. (434)
digital collection/storage/maintenance of data now in paper forms/files, e.g., Memorandum of courses. (452)
Data Archiving services. (480)
Provide support for instructional materials such as instructional asset, management, multimedia development equipment and support, access to libraries and research journals both local and for distance students, faculty development related to technology use and the development of instructional resources/course improvement. (494)
Data center management. Servers are located throughout the University; many of these servers are in unsuitable environments (physical security, conditioned power) and are supported by technical staff with varied skill levels and limited time. Providing centralized data center (machine room) management would allow these servers to be housed and supported more effectively. (14)
Physical storage of server farms/maintenance and redundant systems. (Virtualization to allowlocalcontrol and access). (78)
Data storage systems. (79)
Server Support & Storage Solutions – Provide a secure, climate controlled and power conditioned environment (data center) for University servers. Provide adequate backup facilities for the software and content kept on these servers. Publish hardware and software guidelines to be followed in order that purchased servers can be physically located and maintained in the data center. Provide a pool of common storage for data center servers as well as for archived research data. (105)
Hosted Websites with Dynamic Tools and Databases. Currently the campus centrally supports a web server (frontier.unl.edu) that is limited to hosting static web pages. Many departments also run web servers that include a variety of technologies not found on frontier.unl.edu so that they are able to publish dynamic web content. The centrally supported web servers should provide units with accounts similar to those that are found at any number of hosting vendors. PHP, Perl, Python, MySQL can all be made available (what should be is another discussion). Units should pay for these services but at a subsidized rate to incent using the central system. (107)
Robust Web hosting with full array of services including PHP mySQL. (193)
Network Resources and Access to Services – Host and support the network and the various network-based services for the entire campus, e.g. firewalls. Charge for trusts or tying in unit domains/directories. All access to network resources should be managed by IS, including the provisioning and deprovisioning of services. (108) Database backup, disaster recovery and network administration. (124)
Backup services (NSave). (136)
Large file transfer (DropBox). (138)
Data center management. Servers are located throughout the University; many of these servers are in unsuitable environments (physical security, conditioned power) and are supported by technical staff with varied skill levels and limited time. Providing centralized data center (machine room) management would allow these servers to be housed and supported more effectively. (234)
Data storage: servers purchased and maintained centrally (hardware only). (268)
Data backup: servers and desktops (this is available now, but should be made more economical and reliable for disaster recovery). (269)
Disaster recovery/business continuity: planning and hardware/software needs. (270)
A more efficient web site server. For example, frontier.unl.edu is very limited in interactive functionality. This has forced some offices (including our own) to host web services on CBA servers in order to provide prospective students the functionality they have come to expect from websites. (299) Disaster Recovery Plan — after the issues we experienced this week, we really need better back-up options. Our office was down for 2½ hours which is a significant loss of productivity for our office this time of year. We ended up sending staff home early. (300)
Local servers for RSO's; Currently RSO's can get a website through cwis.unl.edu, however they cannot do advanced scripting such as: php or MySQL or any other database technologies, a local server for RSO's would allow you to regulate RSO websites more accurately while still giving them the latitude to do more with their internet mediums. (326)
Developing priorities for campus wide initiatives (such as the Enterprise Resource Planning systems like SAP that we use administratively, Blackboard, e-mail systems, connections to the Internet), and implementing those systems. Centrally funded. (407)
Managing servers, which are better, safer, and more efficiently managed in large server farms rather than a few at a time in colleges. Funded by colleges through cross-charges. (408)
Protecting the campus computer systems against failure, intrusion, hacking, data theft, and privacy violations. Centrally funded. (410)
We believe it is appropriate for the Top Priority Services from question 1 to be provided centrally. Although some colleges use somewhat different reporting timelines and structures for assessment, a campus-wide reporting process has been in place since 1995. Raising the quality of the reported assessment activities and sustaining engagement in and documentation of those activities is important for institutional accreditation and when responding to UNL's external stakeholders. These critical needs justify the central approach in supporting the PEARL software. The use of a central support system will also ease the burden of each college having to develop or create their own system for reporting and tracking assessment activity, and will be particularly useful for campus-wide assessment activities, such as the assessment of the Achievement Centered Education (ACE).(431) webserver with PHP & SQL and a person who can advise/train webmasters on webform/database security (offering the technologies without human help is dangerous). (455)
Centralized servers for web hosting. (466)
Server hardware and maintenance, particularly with larger machines. This would improve energy efficiency, maintenance reliability (keeping in mind that concern about redundancy and ability to recover from disaster may require some attention to geographical distribution of servers). (558)
Data retention services & backup (some of these might be outsourced as well provided issues of privacy, security, etc., could be adequately addressed). (559)
Data Backups (0)
Physical storage of server farms/maintenance and redundant systems. (Virtualization to allowlocalcontrol and access). (85)
Data storage systems. (86)
Web server hosting(130) Public web site hosting (www.unl.edu) (244) Data Storage – Currently UNL owns its equipment. Technology is changing very quickly, security is an ever-burdensome issue for the campus, equipment and software is obsolete quickly, etc. Evaluation should includefull costingof initial hardware costs, costs to upgrade equipment, personnel salary and benefits, security, O&M and associated utilities, and security. There are pros and cons to this approach, but a fully vetted process may encourage UNL to either take a different approach to how it finances, manages, replaces, and upgrades its current infrastructure or if outsourcing this service is in UNL's best interests. (450)
There may be certain aspects of security, data retention and backup, and even some course management related activities that could be accomplished efficiently and cost effectively by outsourcing. Note, however, that are features of academic institutions that do not optimally fit the properties of services developed for other commercial applications. (563)
Disaster recovery sites - contracting with third parties to provide disaster recovery services. (487)
Dedicated servers in the case of certain units. (160)
User access to shared resources (network drives, files, software, etc.). (277)
Some units currently provide their own computer administration services. This is necessary for them to meet their unit's research, teaching, and service mission. For example, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering clearly falls in this category. They maintain over 325 computers used for these three aspects of their mission. Centralizing this service would inflict great harm to that unit. In contrast, some units greatly rely on centralized computer administration services. As in almost all services, both models are needed. That is, providing a campus-wide service is critical for units that require that service when the service is not mission critical. When the service must be tailored to meet a unit's mission and is critical to that mission, the individual units must be able to have control over the delivery of that service. (297) (312)
Server support for larger units – for example, IS would charge the libraries $58,650 per year for server backup services under the current system. The Libraries provide the service for $12,623 including staffing, equipment, etc. (488)
17) Secure servers using CURRENT versions of programs and utilities used for UNL Web-based projects: PHP, MySQL, MSSQL, Apache, etc. (164) (see above)
Content Management System that allows contentownersto refresh Web content easily (191) (could also be under leadership)
Green IT. We need to collectively work on making IT computing resources more earth friendly, e.g. by reducing power consumption, recycling old computers, etc. (222)
Business and Academic Software Life Cycle Support. Presently we have a host of alternative avenues that UNL faculty and staff can use to get software built thatthey need.We need a central development shop that supports a recognized platform and architecture for building applications or integrating them into the current campus infrastructure.This group should also be able to recommend affordable commercial versions of applications when appropriate. Right now faculty or staff can go to ITG, CIT, CBA, Raikes School, Computer Science and more to find someone that will build an application to support whatever for a price. PHP, Java, Python, Ruby on Rails, Perl, etc, etc. Then the result MUST integrate with everything else on campus. Staff the shop adequately and properly, have mechanism to handle uneven work schedule (temp work or out source), and develop a mechanism to prioritize projects. Develop a funding mechanism that recognizes that incremental resources are required to support every new service during its useful life. (106)
Writing software applications for administrative and campus wide educational purposes. Centrally funded. (409)
Student Information system (Curtis). (139)
The system needs to track all students who are on campus including:
- Intensive English Program (IEP)
- Extended Education Program
- UNMC students - Dental College and Nursing
- UNO students – Criminal Justice, Gerontology, and Social Work
- Departmental programs – i.e. Hanover Institute and Japanese Agricultural Exchange Program (252)
The system needs to allow for tracking of various activities including:
- Pre-recruitment activities like summer camps and online interactive activities to aid in the recruitment of students;
- Student life experiences, i.e. housing organizations, involvement in student organizations, sport clubs, intramural sports, etc. that can aid in creating stronger bonds to the University resulting in greater alumni support.(320)
The system needs to make it easier for students to find courses that they are interested in and the courses that they are required to take. The system should:
- Recognize classes that satisfy graduation requirements and electives;
- Recognize classes that fit into the student's preferred schedule;
- Suggest classes based on the student's listing of interests;
- Show only the classes that the student is allowed to take when registering;
- Encourage greater planning by students ensure that they are making adequate academic progress;
- Reduce the amount of time it takes for a new class to be added to the Schedule of Classes by replacing unnecessary paper handling with more efficient electronic communication processes; and
- Allow for changes in a course's detail like description or instructor to be updated in one location and after approval the change is reflected in all electronic publications. (321)
20) Continued support for the campus-wide use of the PEARL software and the PEARL server. (426)
Completion of thePEARL 2.0software rewrite project. (427)
Capability to locally customize the PEARL software to reflect changes in use of the system for currently participating units. (428)
Capability to integrate the PEARL software to with other systems on campus (e.g., course management software, new SIS+, etc.). (429)
Centrally-housed services such as GAMES (Graduate Admission Management and Evaluation System) and the proposed GSIS (Graduate Student Information System) for all graduate programs. (454)
Office of Undergraduate Studies, as a unit, needs to have better access, reliability and capacity for institution-wide use and integration of various systems that support curriculum and information important to students, faculty, staff and external audience. Some examples are the C-REQ on-line curriculum review process, ACE General Education course information and certification routing process, interactive on-line undergraduate bulletin, class schedules, SIS and DARS. (425)
Campus-wide website design services and video taping services offered by the New Media Center and CIT – The center provides great services regarding these services occasionally. The quality fluctuates. However, when they are overwhelmed with on campus demand, their response is slow. For example, one seminar video taped by information technology services took 3 months to be edited and sent back to the client, even after multiple inquiries. The video quality is poor. (63)
The center could help to develop websites and answer questions, but responses to various inquiries are getting slower and slower. They cannot help to deal with routine departmental website development or maintenance. Out sourcing is needed to improve these services. (64) (also leadership/web applications)
Telecommunication services. (49) Telecommunications, courseware, video/instant messaging, email services (84)
Cell Phone Business - Is this the proper role for telecommunications? Are there savings enough to justify this effort? (114)
The telecom services are much more expensive and provide inferior products than those available commercially. (293)
The telecom services are much more expensive and provide inferior products than those available commercially. (310)
Better overall University operator capabilities. It is such a pain to use the conference operator because there is still a time gap between needs for time and confirmation that it is available, and the phone numbers change, and the operator often makes mistakes. (515)
Phone conferencing system needs to be upgraded to 21st century expectations. Is this something that should be outsourced? (551)
Cell phone service(132) Administration of cell phone contracts. (182)
VoIP; With the removal of LAN lines from the Residence Halls we wonder if perhaps a VoIP would be a plausible option for building across campus. (330)
22) Programming Capability for customized applications and/or application modification (Bio-informatics, modeling, control programs, etc.) (68) Explore the feasibility and ROI of virtualization of servers and desktop environments, (134)-also instruction ...
Sustainable research computing facilities. In order to attract and retain quality researchers, the University needs local computing power that is readily accessible. (221)
To leverage existing strengths in grid and distributed computing, UNL should create an Adaptive Cyberinfrastructure Technologies (ACT) Center. The ACT Center will (1) research new advancements in cyberinfrastructure; (2) develop cyberinfrastructure for science, engineering, the humanities and the arts; and (3) educate a cyber-workforce. The existing Research Computing Facility (RCF), data visualization and data analytics could be tightly integrated with the ACT Center, as could computing support for interdisciplinary research. In particular this could help provide for our anticipated needed greater access to servers and servers support as the digital humanities expand. (280,307)
Acquisition of state of the art hardware for implementing state of the art techniques for advanced modeling, data exploration & analysis (including visualization & sonification). (555)
Institutional support for RCF, probably as part of a larger ACT center, would greatly enhance research productivity and reduce costs. However, individual researchers should still be allowed to purchase and maintain computing resources for their own research needs when RCF/ACT do not meet those needs. Institutional support for RCF, probably as part of a larger ACT center, would greatly enhance research productivity and reduce costs. However, individual researchers should still be allowed to purchase and maintain moderate computing resources for their own research needs when RCF/ACT do not meet those needs. (309)
23) Centers of excellence for emerging technology. We need to provide a sustainable mechanism for staff to explore new technologies in order to keep pace with our peers in the possible use of technologies to further the University's mission.(6) Access to R & D IT support for smaller units (119). Innovation as a top priority (see attachment) (120 see attachment). The UNL campus should sponsor the research, testing and development of emerging instructional technologies though a campus innovation center. The center would assist faculty with the evaluation of new instructional technologies and determine feasibility for wider deployment and support of these technologies for the rest of the campus. (148)
Campus should support pedagogical research on emerging instructional technologies. In addition to assessing technologies this effort should incorporate prioritization, planning and deployment for products and services. Address sustainability issues prior to rolling out new campus technologies. (354)
We need a vision for providing education that is not bounded by location and time. This includes providing better services and support, more technology enhanced classrooms and better incentives for faculty to teach with technology and provide online courses. Additionally, we cannot continue to ignore the growing body of non-traditional learners. Expanding our student base with these audiences makes financial sense. (28)
Reliable and cost effective distance education strategies for all parts of Nebraska for higher education and Extension. (135)
Enhance computational capacity to help train students to use more powerful computers to complete modern computational projects. (55)
Blackboard/Course Management Software – Blackboard has become a key component in the undergraduate educational effort on the UNL campus. A majority of courses use the software to post course materials, deliver quizzes and collect homework. Blackboard and its components are also heavily used in distance education sponsored by UNL. The Blackboard license and supporting labor and infrastructure is largely funded with student technology fees. (101)
The university should consider possible alternatives to Blackboard especially with a new SIS coming on board. Before making such a decision, however, benefits of a new system would need to weighed against the faculty time that would be invested in learning the new system. Adequate support for funding and managing Blackboard (courseware) and other instructional software (Adobe Connect, H.329 videoconferencing) for use in the classroom and distance education. (353)
Growth for course management systems. (554)
Video Production and Distribution Services - A growing number of academic programs are incorporating the use of video in various forms, from videoconferencing to production of video content to analysis of video from external sources. Video production expertise should not be duplicated unnecessarily, and therefore central management at UNL should be explored. (102)
Capability for recording more classroom lectures for distance/internet courses as well as allowing students to review lectures. (103)
Support the development and deployment of learning and teaching assessment tools including on-line course evaluations and student portfolio development. (355)
Course management (Blackboard). (137)
Learning Management Systems and tools i.e. Blackboard, randomized testing services, Adobe Connect. (173)
Web-based course evaluation which provides access to evaluation data for faculty use and also contributes to and communicates with an annual reporting system. (502)
Creation of a formalized emerging technologies group. This group would be tasked with investigating emerging technologies that support research, teaching, service and outreach. The groups work will help inform the University community and support innovation in research, teaching, and outreach. (505)
Support for EDU and MapleTA: The web-based student assessment service provided by EDU and MapleTA is an essential component of courses in many departments across campus, especially in large-enrollment undergraduate courses in math and the sciences. For at least the last five years, there have been over 10,000 actively-used student accounts on the EDU server every year. In Fall 2007 alone, well over 650,000 assignments were created, administered, and graded for UNL students on the EDU server. This service plays a crucial role in core freshman classes such as Math 106, Psyc 181, and PolS 100 Since 2005 ITG has supported an 0.5 FTE support position, CSMCE provides technical support and training, and Arts & Sciences funds the A&S Testing Center which is used for high-stakes proctored tests using the system. Institutional support of this service is essential to continue the current level of service, and to meet the yet-growing demand for on-line assessment. (291)
(Note that students do not think much of EDU see below)
Distance Education Technology – The campus should coordinate all distance education technology and support services. (113)
EDU; We understand the positive things that come from having custom built software on campus; however, there are many companies now that specialize in these kinds of advanced, online testing methods. For the options that many professors would need this may not be realistically outsourced solution; however we would appreciate some exploration into the idea. (329)
Adobe Connect (Breeze). (2)
Service to classroom computers, projectors, etc., and college-level computer centers for students. (97)
Evaluate the evolving role and current need for campus supported computer labs. (367)
Local support for technology in classrooms- need speedy, reliable service – does not work well in a centralized system. (489)
If given the resources, Colleges might be better situated to make decisions about, maintain, and support instructional equipment in classroom within their areas. This is particularly true when limited resources are available. This would assure more even distribution of at least a minimum of resources across Colleges and buildings. UNL could provide assistance in making recommendations for technology and systems and support some standardization of equipment across campus. (509)
There are a number of services now provided by colleges that should be maintained at the college level. Services include servers for both administrative and instructional support. Technical and instructional support for faculty within the colleges should also be maintained at the college level. A second tier of support should be provided at the University level. This second tier facilitates shared expertise and provides leadership for support personnel at the college level. (510)
Instructional design support - having people working with the units seems more effective than a central service that tries to be all things to all people.(491) Services such as the Instructional Design Center, housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences, provide both instructional and research support for faculty. The current model in which the service is housed within the college but provides services across the University community works extremely well. Services do not need to be centralized to benefit the entire campus. (511)
Defined roles and limited administrative access for Blackboard and Adobe Connect. (181)
24) Improve the PRS for class room instructions – the present system still has a lot of bugs and creates difficulties and confusion for students, and it is incredibly frustrating for faculty. (54)
The UNL campus should equip all general-purpose (GP) classrooms with appropriate instructional technology, including technology to provide accessibility to students with disabilities, and adequately fund the ongoing support, maintenance and replacements costs for all such classrooms. Presently 55 percent of these classrooms have up-to-date technology with complete funding for maintenance, support and replacement pending a request to UNL administration. The majority of the remaining unimproved classrooms are small (25 seats or less). A handful of lecture halls, larger and medium sized classrooms should be brought up to the standard and smaller classrooms should be equipped with projection equipment and screens as necessary. (145)
Telecommuting/teleconferencing software (and hardware if necessary): for webinars, remote access (work from anywhere/virtual workplace). (266)
All general assignment classrooms should have appropriate technology with adequate support provided, though remaining chalk blackboards should not be removed. Central support should be available for non-general purpose departmental classrooms in a timely manner and reasonably priced. Currently there is often a lack of communication between ITG and individual units. For example last Fall many faculty were surprised to find Office 2007 installed on classroom computers. (281)
Complete funding to equip remaining, unimproved general purpose (GP) classrooms with appropriate levels of instructional technology. Adequately fund maintenance, support and replacement of technologies in all GP classrooms. (352)
The UNL campus should support a set of reliable distance education classrooms equipped with high definition two-way audio/video capability (H.323) that build on the standard equipment complement available in campus supported general-purpose classrooms. Such classrooms would accommodate multi-location instruction (Lincoln and Omaha, Global Classroom) and other forms of distance education sponsored by UNL and its partners.(146) Usage of Collaboration Tools; Currently UNL has access to software such as Live Meeting as well as Adobe Breeze. We know that some professors offer these services to help tutor students and to meet with students who cannot meet during the regular office hours. More professors should be convinced to use this method of supplemental instruction. (314)
Provide resources for collaboration within virtual communities. Includes facilities and support for teleconferencing and identity management (business uses too). (435)
Provide technology to support instruction and collaborative research including classroom technology and video conferencing and other communication technologies for instruction and advising.(495)
Expansion of televideo capacities so that it is easier for university participation in the variety of televideo networks (such as, for example, the state's telehealth network) that our community members use(512) Continued and enhanced video-conferencing abilities, enhanced digital recording devices for transcriptions (if such a thing exists or will exist in the future!). (513)
Identifying the next generation conferencing system beyond polycom/adobe connect. (549)
Many Labs Need New Microscopes & Projectors; There are many labs on campus that are using microscopes that are very old and are out of date, these should be updated. Also there are a few projectors on campus that need to be updated. (315)
Separate individual servers for computation intensive class room projects. (59)
The UNL campus should coordinate design and appropriate levels of support for instructional technology installed in general-use, college and departmental classrooms. GP classrooms are managed by ITG (Instructional Technology Group) in Information Services (IS). All classrooms are configured with a standard set of equipment and consistent installation configurations. Many departments use ITG to design and install equipment in their own classrooms. By using the infrastructure developed for the GP classrooms, departments could take advantage of automated monitoring systems that detect problems and anticipate equipment maintenance issues. By adopting GP classroom standards, instructors would be able to move between classroom environments with more confidence. Communications capabilities built into the newer classrooms also allow emergency alerts to be sent to and from teaching counsels in larger classrooms and lecture halls. (152)
25) Infrastructure to support the creation, peer review, and publishing of electronic scholarship: servers (or server space), software for scholarly collaboration. (263)
26) The photography services provided are only so so. For website development purposes, the photo taken by the CIT services are worse than the quality one gets from Walmart. They charge a lot but quality is not satisfactorily. It is frustrating. (65)
Not sure if this fits, but scanning/digitization: I know that the Press will be facing this in coming years (for our main book content and eventually for business documents such as contracts). If the University had a blanket contract for this type of service I'm sure it would save us a lot of time. (273)
Return to Executive Summary.
Information Technology Review
- Campus Information Technology Service Survey
- Faculty Senate FCFC Report 2008
- Advisory Board Report (available to UNL Campus Community only)
- Information Technology Campus Stakeholder Group Survey