Technology Fee Advisory Committee Funding
Technology Fee Focus Groups
Technology Fee Committee
Focus group of faculty and staff
Results (February 17, 1999)
Conducted and Prepared by:
NDSU PRSSA: Bobby Prevost and the following members:
Lisa Sedlacek Jill Carlson
Angie Nelson Brigid Ryan
Heidi Guggisberg Tracie Popma
Bipasha Ray Beth Sagsveen
Most Prevalent Themes in Faculty/Staff Group:
1) The group expressed concern about the funding for the modem pool and felt there needs to be a more stable funding for it. It was mentioned that with what’s going on in the state, NDSU should decide where to allocate resources of funding.
2) Since the tech fee funding is by students, the staff needs to find the best way for students to get the most for their money.
Discussion on General Technology
What is technology?
The group provided examples of technology that included computers, electronics, software, equipment, and tools that help us accomplish a task more easily. The group also mentioned that technology goes far beyond electronics and is not limited to just computers.
The group discussed many issues including:
1) Web pages and knowledge about them is important information to know,
2) Clusters are often complained about (especially in the dorms) because of the times they are open and the location,
3) Students want more printers,
4) The group felt that the students are not aware of the available resources on campus such as digital cameras and voice mail boxes.
How does it affect your working experience?
The groups felt that their working experience has definitely been affected by the use of technology. The use of technology has in many cases made daily work more efficient and made communication easier. Technology has also given us connections to the outside world, which is extremely important. There were some concerns about the use of technology however,
1) Learning to use it can be daunting. It was suggested that either everyone should learn the technology or specialists need to be on hand,
2) The university system is slowing up because of the array of web sites attached to the home page.
This in turn is making it difficult to get at,
3) It was said that sometimes we get too caught up in technology, and we need to see if it is actually making learning any better.
What technology experiences will be necessary for students? And what technologies should be taught to students?
The group felt that students should know what information they need to know to complete classes and to be successful in their environment (for example: getting notes and class syllabi off the web).
Through classes it was felt that students should become familiar with various types of technology including:
4) Voice mail
6) Internet navigation.
It was also discussed that budgets keep some departments from upgrading, and as a result, they are using older software programs. Using software that is easy to learn also results in quicker use by everyone.
What technologies do you use in the classroom?
The technologies used in the classroom varied from different types of software to actual equipment. One instructor stated that they sometimes take their students to the clusters because the accessibility of the technology is more available there. The list of technology currently being used consisted of:
4) CD ROM’s,
5) PowerPoint for presentations.
What technology experiences should the student bring to the classroom?
It was mentioned that students’ knowledge of technology varies from different schools because some schools are simply better equipped than others. The group felt that students should not be expected to have specific knowledge before class because they may have had different levels of exposure prior to college. Basic typing skills and word processor familiarity can usually be expected, but the basics need to be taught to everyone from the start.
Discussion on Funded Projects
Which of the funded Technology Fee Projects are you aware of?
The group had received a handout listing the projects that are funded by the technology fee so everyone was aware of all the projects. It was stressed that some projects are more directly beneficial than others (for example, the Modem pool is very beneficial).
Questions raised from this question included:
1) If tech money is spent on a specific project, can all students use it since the money came from the students as a whole, or is it solely to be used be the department which received the grant? The language lab was given as an example,
2) Can grants be awarded to departments wanting to build specialty labs or clusters?
Which project(s) affected your campus experiences and what effect did these projects have on your campus experiences?
The group agreed that:
1) The modem pool is essential and this is an area where NDSU excels when compared to other universities,
2) Internet access is very helpful for faculty who work on nights and weekends at home,
3) Multimedia carts for classroom presentations are very beneficial because they are key for classroom initiative.
Which projects should be continued?
The group agreed that all the projects funded are important and should be continued. It is easy to suggest the cutting of a program that doesn’t effect you, but that program is obviously very beneficial to someone else. The projects the group felt definitely need to be continued were:
1) Modem pool,
2) Laser printing ,
3) Multimedia carts,
Which projects should not again be funded?
There were no specific projects that group felt should not be funded again. There was a discussion however, suggesting that the tech fee help get new programs off the ground, and new projects should always be considered. Another opinion expressed how this would not be beneficial. He stated that if the tech fee money helps get a project started and then they discontinue funding for them the following year, the project is likely to fail. He believed continued funding for projects is important especially for projects such as the modem pool that is so vital to everyone.
Discussion of the Funding Process
Was the funding process fair last year?
The responses varied from the different participants regarding funding. Some participants felt that by looking at the sheet of funded projects, that no money was wasted. Some responses included:
1) The participants were not aware of the possibilities and felt the tech fee should publicize the fact that people can apply for grants,
2) How much money is spent on hardware versus positions to maintain the hardware? They go hand in hand and you must have people to do the necessary upkeep on the equipment,
3) Some felt that the tech fee has a tendency to cut out parts of the funding for a project, which can create problems. The grant writers usually make their proposals as lean as possible and by cutting part of it; the plan can not go forth as effective as planned,
4) So much money shouldn’t be taken from students. The money should go to fund projects that directly affect the students.
Have any of you been involved in a grant or applied for a grant from the tech fee committee?
There were only a few participants who had been involved in technology fee grants.
What kind of information would you like to receive after the grant application process?
The group felt that it is important that the persons applying for a grant see the reviewer comments so they know how to improve their application next time. They felt that if you don’t receive any feedback, then you are left in the dark regarding why your proposal wasn’t granted.
If you were denied funding from the tech fee committee, were you provided with enough information to understand why you weren’t funded?
There was a consensus that there was not enough information given to the applicants after they were denied funding from the technology fee committee. One participant stated that they received a letter saying "sorry, we don’t have money for this" and nothing more. There was a definite lack of explaining as to why certain projects were not funded.
Another participant said they received an explanation that they felt was inadequate. The building they were applying for was apparently already wired which they felt was not a good enough reason for being denied. The group felt that a detailed letter or a meeting with the applicants would be appropriate to discuss why you were not funded.
Discussion of Future Changes
How would you rank the target areas for last years fund cycle?
The participants agreed that all the projects funded were worthy. The projects that the group felt were vital to the university were:
1) The modem pool,
2) Technology support,
3) Student consultants,
Would you eliminate any target areas from this year’s request for proposals?
There was limited discussion amongst the group regarding this question. It was agreed that all projects are important and it is left up to the technology fee committee to decide which are most beneficial to the students and the university. All agreed we have to trust the committee is using good judgement when deciding which projects to fund.
What new target areas would you add?
The group suggested many target areas that could be added to the list of proposals:
1) Customer service,
3) An ITS special projects room, because the communications department is all there currently is. A room that could be available for all faculty and staff,
4) Improving access to video and digital equipment for teachers. This would aid in the teaching of students. The current situations are believed to not allow for this.
How would you change the funding process?
1) The group felt the overall awareness of the technology fee funding needs to increase. More publicity would generate more proposals and possibly bring up new ideas,
2) They also expressed a need for knowing the criteria the committee has regarding acceptance and denial,
3) The timing of the proposals also need to be improved. One participant mentioned that they may need the money in August but applying for that money in the spring of the previous year is too early. The adequate information to create a proposal may not be known at that time,
4) They participants would also like to know how much money is available through tech fee dollars.