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Institutional Readiness Criteria - Example 5

Does the institution have a mature information technology (IT) organization(s) to support faculty integration of technology into courses? Or does it contract with external providers to provide such support?

How do you characterize a "mature" organization? Can the IT organization provide more than technical support? Does it see the "big picture?" Does it have an understanding of the goals and objectives of the academic program? Does it include instructional design capabilities? Does the IT organization have specific experience with supporting course redesign?

What evidence can you provide to demonstrate the ability of your institution to support faculty integration of technology into courses? Here are some examples of the ways various institutions have responded to this criterion.

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Rio Salado College (Maricopa Community College District)
University of Central Florida
University of Pittsburgh
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Faculty integration of technology into courses is supported primarily through three organizations: University Information Technology Services (UITS), the Advanced Information Technology Laboratory, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

University Information Technology Services at Indiana University, with offices on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, is responsible for the continued development of a modern information technology environment throughout the University in support of IU's vision for excellence in research, teaching, outreach, and lifelong learning. UITS comprises some 500 highly trained professionals with expertise that spans the field of information technology. Many of the staff are nationally and internationally known for their accomplishments.

The Teaching and Learning Information Technologies division of UITS provides the support services used most often by faculty, students, staff, and computing support professionals on the IUB and IUPUI campuses. Resources include Student Technology Centers; consulting in person, and via the award-winning online Knowledge Base of computing questions and answers; a sophisticated program of education in the hardware and software most used at the University; and partnering with faculty to integrate instructional computing, multimedia, and other forms of technology-based instruction into their teaching.

Partnering with all UITS units is the Advanced Information Technology Laboratory. The AITL evaluates and tests new and cutting-edge information technologies of importance to the four divisions of UITS and to the University as a whole. It is developing the technologies involved in the University's major virtual reality initiative and flexible methods for distribution and access to digital video.

The Center for Teaching and Learning opened in November 1994 dedicated to the professional development of IUPUI faculty. The Center provides faculty with assistance in their quest for self-improvement. More specifically, it is designed to provide an opportunity to explore new avenues of teaching; develop new courses or redesign existing ones; test new methods and delivery systems; create new ways to utilize technology to enrich teaching, research, and service; and encourage discussion and sharing of these methodologies. Faculty may find consultation at the Center anytime during open hours, although reservations are encouraged. Additionally, The Center staff will tailor consultations/workshops to the specific needs of IUPUI schools or departments, and if desired, will hold the consultation/workshop on site in these units.

A notable development in the past year that demonstrates the maturity of our IT organization is OnCourse. The OnCourse software system is an Internet-based course environment, developed in 1998 at IUPUI by the Advanced Information Technology Lab in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning. OnCourse provides a comprehensive platform for creating, using, and maintaining Web-based teaching and learning environments. OnCourse can dynamically create Web sites for IU courses and automatically provide instructors and enrolled students with Network ID-based access to the sites. Course sites include up-to-date class rosters; a user profile (home page) for everyone associated with the class; tools for chat, mail, and conferencing; and the ability to integrate online testing, Web authoring, and multimedia resources. OnCourse can be used with University databases, enabling course templates to be pre-populated with course, student, and faculty information. During spring semester 1999, more than 350 course sections at IUPUI are being actively maintained on the Web by faculty using OnCourse. More than 5,000 other course sections have online rosters, message forums, and chat rooms available for the students enrolled. Plans are now in place to move OnCourse from an experimental application to a production service and to build the integration of this service with other University information systems, especially the new Student Information System for Indiana University.

Rio Salado College (Maricopa Community College District)

Yes. Rio Salado College has a mature IT infrastructure. The college has been involved in online education for the last three years and distance education for the last 20 years. All of our technical support is in-house. Our three main technology areas, Information Services, Help Desk, and Web Development, are staffed by 23 full-time and 10 part-time technicians and programmers. Information Services supports hardware and software, Help Desk supports software questions from students and faculty, and Web Development supports the development and maintenance of our web courses. In addition, employees from these different areas support our internal network, maintain our servers, and provide audio-visual support.

University of Central Florida

In 1997 the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs reorganized his division and created the UCF Center for Distributed Learning. The division also includes Continuing Education, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, and the branch campuses. The Center for Distributed Learning has responsibility for planning and administering the university’s interactive television, video, and Web-based programs. It serves as a clearinghouse for processes and resources in support of off-campus and distributed learning credit programs, courses, and students, as well as marketing for both live and distributed learning courses. The Center provides leadership and coordination for efforts to achieve accreditation for distance learning programs throughout the university.

Course Development & Web Services (CD&WS) is the primary instructional technology unit within the division of Information Technologies and Resources that has responsibility for faculty development and Web-based courses. In July 1997, the CD&WS unit was moved from the Academic Programs division to Information Technologies and Resources. The unit operates as a learning organization made up of five teams: instructional design, programming, digital media, software engineering, and administration. Full-time staff coordinate with part-time students, interns and graduate researchers creating cross-disciplinary teams that work on multiple projects.

The instructional design team creates and delivers professional development curriculum and consults with faculty to assess course needs. Programmers (called "TechRangers") produce Web-based materials for courses and other strategic campus websites including the University’s primary site. The digital media team produces all graphics and photos for websites, print, CD-ROM and video. The digital media team also performs video and audio production and editing. Software engineers create databases and systems to support large projects. The software engineering team also conducts regular research and development efforts that include EDUCAUSE’s Instructional Management System and software evaluation for campus-wide use. The administration team provides planning, project management, facilitation and clerical support. CD&WS staff includes 5 instructional designers, 10 TechRangers, 6 digital media specialists, 4 software engineers, and 3 administrative staff.

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) collaborates with the Library, Office of Instructional Resources, Computer Services, and Course Development & Web Services to offer faculty a variety of opportunities to determine what technologies are appropriate tools for helping them achieve their stated learning outcomes. Beginning with New Faculty Orientation and continuing through the year with a series of faculty development workshops, full time faculty, adjunct faculty, and graduate teaching assistants learn about tools and work with support personnel to pursue instructional innovation projects.

The UCF Summer Faculty Development Institute provides a week-long intensive learning and production opportunity for faculty who wish to transform their classes. In 1998, 85 faculty participated in the first Summer Institute. In 1999 the number of participants increased to 127. Sessions on technology included WebCT use, Web page design, PowerPoint for the Web, and the use of streaming media over the Web. Faculty return in December for a winter workshop. Some continue work on projects begun during the Summer Institute, and others to begin planning projects for the next Summer Institute. In December 1998, 32 faculty participated in the week-long workshop.

University of Pittsburgh

In addition to the many IT support services provided by Computing and Information Services, the University established a unit in 1995 dedicated to providing instructional support services for faculty. The Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE) is comprised of a variety of professional staff dedicated to helping faculty with the design and development of instructional improvements and innovations. The staff includes instructional designers, instructional technologists, electronic graphics designers, video producers, photographers, and related support personnel. In the area of instructional computing, CIDDE provides faculty development opportunities and direct assistance with computer-based teaching materials. Both CIDDE and CIS report to the Office of the Provost and the units function collaboratively to offer a wide range of IT support services.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT)’s mission is to lead the development of an integrated IT environment that actively aids and enhances the academic and support activities of the University and to deliver effective IT products and services that help faculty, staff, and students achieve UW-Madison’s goals.

DoIT provides a wide variety of technologies and services to its UW-Madison constituents. These include hardware/software usage and purchase through the DoIT Tech Store; software licensing; institutional data access; e-mail; dial-in modem pool access; ISDN network access; World Wide Web access; Help Desk consulting 7 days a week, 24 hours per day; over 250 free student computing workshops annually serving over 2,500 students; nearly 250 workshops annually with enrollment fees; 120 online computer-based self-study training courses; Learning Technology and Distance Education consultation and design services; New Media Centers providing use of specialized technology production hardware and software; Instructional Technology Grants for improvement of undergraduate instruction through the creative use of learning technologies; and Internet2 access for instruction and research.

Within UW-Madison, every classroom, office, and lab is served by one or more voice/data outlets. Every classroom, lab, conference room, and meeting room is served by one or more broadband video outlets. Every building is provided with a twisted pair, fiber, and coaxial cable system to provide in-building voice distribution and local area networks. Housing residents now have connectivity to high-speed networks providing access to the campus and the world.

Included in DoIT’s Strategic Directions and Key Internal Initiatives 1999-2001 is a focus on expanded support for learning technologies and distance education. As stated in this strategic direction, "New information technologies and near universal access to technology are changing the nature of campus-based instruction and offering new opportunities for learning at a distance. DoIT must find ways to facilitate the transition and offer more support to faculty and instructional staff who want to change the teaching and learning experience."