Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Campus Technology 2008 - Day 2: Planning and Budgeting panel discussion

This session is a panel discussion of planning and budgeting for the next-gen classroom. The panel includes

  • Moderator Scott Walker of Waveguide Consulting, Inc.
  • Panelists:
    • Randy Jackson, University of Washington, Seattle - 20 year veteran of providing educational technology leadership at the university. His campus is large and diverse.
    • Michael Kubit, Case Western Reserve University - director of MediaVision, part of IT - a 25 year veteran - Case Western is a private research university. The university has 200+ technology enhanced classrooms that are refreshed every 5 years.
    • Matthew Silverman, George Mason University - about 30,000 students - 138 technology-enhanced classrooms - four standard installations - classrooms are monitored and managed via the network.

First question: What are the key drivers to funding technology on your campus?

Randy: Upgrading older campus buildings that are between 80 to 100 years old. We contact the state legislature and ask for electrical upgrade for safety and once funding is approved we ask to upgrade technology.

Michael: The primary driver is does the classroom scale and can we support with the staff we currently have. You can design a facility hoping you will get the staff. We design rooms for middle of the adoption curve, we design to needs of the faculty. What goes into the room is designed to 80% of our faculty.

Matthew: We try to ensure that the faculty can move from classroom to classroom and they will find most of the same equipment. We are playing a lot of catchup.

Second question: Do you have any good metrics for use in technology planning and budgeting?

Randy: As far as FTE staffing, its a different argument from technology planning. We know we need staff to support it, but on our campus its a separate argument. Facilities Design Instruction Manual expresses what we want our classrooms to look like. We update it constantly and its available to the campus and consultants. By documenting this it provides details on what you need.

Michael: We develop a "total cost of ownership" of classroom - develop a five-year plan that is readily available and then we have to calculate operating costs which cannot be neglected. It's easy to get capital money to build, but more difficult to get operating costs. Key is to find problems before a professor does, because don't want the professor lectures to be delayed while we fix equipment.

Matthew: We use specific budget numbers based on our standards to begin budget process.

Third question: What kind of strategies of breaking a cycle of putting technology improvements on back burner?

Randy: We used to look at technology in classroom as items you put in there, but now with next-gen you have to also consider lighting and ambient sound. Part of this is being aware of issues and making the argument that we need to consider these issues.

Matthew: We all have instances of classrooms that are horrible, and we have got the major stakeholders in the classroom to have them experience sitting in these classrooms so that they can appreciate the student's experience.

Fourth question: what about integrating technology into historic buildings

Randy: Dealt with it in several ways, we save the shell and completely gutted the inside of these buildings because they are incompatible for technology. Fortunately these buildings are not "historic" that prohibit touching the interiors. We use ADA architecture.

Michael: You need to strike a balance between form and fashion. We try to keep it simple so we use simple switch zoning so not complicated and costs. Need to work with physical plant people so that when renovations are proposed you have a seat at the table.

Fifth question: What is a next-gen classroom for you?

Randy: For me it means interactivity and flexibility. If you are not letting student to be connected and interact with each other. It involves room space and technology. Current popular items is coursecasting and audience response. We can measure use by surveys and downloads.

Michael: In 2002 we innovated our own lecture capture and distribution. Lecture capture provided students with opportunity to review lectures. Provide mp3s of lectures, but not downloading them, surveyed them and they said that online courses were visually rich and audio-only lectures were not useful. Students are not enamored by technology, they are not impressed by it or surprised by it. Developing "classroom-flip" - faculty pre-recorded lecture and in classroom they are working on homework in classroom.

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