Information Technology Plan
The Information Technology Plan focuses on the use of information technology in support of teaching, learning and administrative support services. Technology has become an integral part of teaching, learning, research and most administrative support services. IT provides an infrastructure for interaction, investigation and collaboration. IT can be a transformative agent that not only enhances traditional modes of teaching and learning, but also enables new methods of teaching and learning.
Technology has the potential to facilitate and enable change across the University and help the University achieve its goals. In FY 2007/2008, the University made a significant investment in the network infrastructure that will support teaching, learning and the University’s administrative support services for the foreseeable future. In FY 2008/2009, significant technology investments are being made to improve the University’s Web presence and wireless network service.
Technology is a key factor in engaged learning. IT assists students and faculty with tools, such as Web-based course management (Desire2Learn), classroom response systems (clickers), digitizing course materials for use with iPods or similar devices, campus simulation and research technology.
Key accomplishments for 2007-2008 include the following:
- Approximately 1,500 students used classroom response systems.
- Fifteen faculty participated in the initiative to record lectures for distribution via iTunesU.
- Assisted Biology/Microbiology with a Beowulf cluster research project to review gene data.
- Assisted Computer Science with a grid/distributed computing research project, making use of unused GCA lab computer cycles for mathematical computations.
- Assisted the College of Business and Kinesiology and Health with using video feedback via the Web and TitanFiles/Xythos.
- Increased participation in a workshop series for instructional design of hybrid courses using effective application of online tools. This series originally was offered in partnership with the Center for Scholarly Teaching and now has expanded to other departments, such as Center for New Learning and Curriculum and Instruction.
In addition to encouraging community engagement from our staff, IT assists with the technology needed for service projects like water quality studies and has developed a partnership with the Center for Community Partnerships, providing them with technology consulting services. In 2007-2008, basic computer skills training was provided through the Women’s Center to people referred by Work Force Development and the Christine Ann Center. IT repurposes computers no longer usable on campus to community nonprofit organizations at no cost. In 2007-2008, approximately 170 computers were redistributed.
IT's support of globalization is primarily in facilitating communication via e-mail, videoconferencing, telecommunication services and other Web-based tools.
IT fosters student excellence through student employees. Lab consultants are provided with additional technology skills to increase their post-graduation marketability. They also use these skills to assist fellow students with using lab technology. Technology interns provide essential support in computer and lab maintenance on campus. UW Oshkosh has been fortunate to hire five former interns as full-time IT staff. IT's team of student graphic artists and Web developers helps create and maintain Web sites for campus departments.
In FY 2008/2009, IT looks to serve as a key partner with the Integrated Marketing and Communications team to improve the University’s Web presence.
Other key goals for 2008-2009 include the following:
- Lecture capture (podcasting): Enhance the student learning experience by allowing faculty to efficiently record and distribute their lectures to students for review.
- Immersive learning technology: Support 3-D virtual environments for colleges and departments incorporating this new technology into their curriculum.
- Student collaboration: Upgrade the TitanFiles (Xythos) collaboration system to improve student engagement and collaboration opportunities.
- Wireless service: Improve access to network resources by providing wireless coverage everywhere on campus.
- Network service: Provide for the increasing demand for more course content delivered over the network by completing the fiber optic cable upgrade by Fall 2008.
- Student Information System: Improve services to students by being the first campus within UW System to offer the improvements and new functionality in Oracle/PeopleSoft’s Campus Solutions 9.0.
IT strives to be internal consultants to and partners with college offices, departments and individuals on campus in evaluating, planning and implementing technology that assists in developing solutions to challenges faced by the campus community.
Major challenges in FY 2008/2009 include the following:
- The Applications Programming staff will lose four of seven staff members to retirement before March 2009. Shortly after the University completes the upgrade of its student information system, senior applications programmers/analysts will be retiring. The loss of institutional knowledge will severely impact the day-to-day technical support for offices across the campus. The rebuilding of this important campus resource will be an urgent priority for IT in FY 2008/2009.
- After completing a campus security risk assessment, cross-division collaboration and executive emphasis will be needed to implement recommendations. Maintaining good security and privacy practices will be an ongoing challenge.
- Identifying the funding and completing the construction of the alternate data center in the basement of Polk library will be a significant challenge in FY 2008/2009.