Technology Fee Advisory Committee Funding
Technology Fee Focus Group
Technology Fee Committee
Focus Group of Students
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 Student Focus Group:
Students feel the modem pool/access is a vital technology at NDSU and should remain a high priority for funding.
Printing is another vital technology that students have access too, and this should remain a priority for funding.
All classrooms should all be equipped with efficient and adequate technology to make the students experience as positive as possible.
Discussion on General Technology
What is technology?
The students defined technology as anything that improves our way of life or makes our lives easier. Most felt that technology is a tool that makes what we do faster and more efficient. The most common technologies that were mentioned were: computers, modem access, and modem pools.
The group felt that technology goes far beyond computers and modems however. Cars, and advanced medical drugs were also mentioned as types of technology.
How does technology affect your educational experiences?
The group felt their educational experiences at NDSU have been greatly affected by technology. The technology most beneficial to the group was:
1) E-mail communication between students and professors.
2) Computer clusters available in the residence halls so you don’t have to own your own computer.
3) Instructors who have web sites where you can retrieve notes and get class syllabi. The group also felt however, that some professors move too fast in class because they put so much information on the web.
What technology experiences will be necessary for your career?
The group discussed themes they felt were relevant regarding technology and their future careers. The three most prevalent themes were:
1) Access to the Internet. The group felt that the Internet would become more of a necessity as they move into their careers.
2) Knowledge of basic computer functions such as e-mail and word processing was also mentioned.
3) Knowledge of basic navigation functions of the Internet was mentioned as a necessity as well. These experiences they felt applied to everyone because they ease the complexity of many situations and speed the time it takes to do calculations.
What technologies do you see being used by faculty in the classroom?
The technologies that students mentioned most are:
1) Microphones for presentations
4) Use of links/networking on the Internet
5) Instructors’ notes on the web/printed notes
6) Projectors with LCD
7) PowerPoint instruction
8) Assignments on the Internet
The students mentioned that sometimes the use of technology doesn’t seem worth it because it takes so long for the instructor to figure out how to work it, wasting class time. They felt either they all need to know how to use it effectively or an instruction manual should be available to them. It was agreed that it is the professors’ responsibility to know how to work the technology they are using.
What technology experiences should the student bring to the classroom?
The group felt there are specific experiences the students need to bring to the classroom. They are:
1) knowing how to search the web, because some students have never used computers before,
2) Computer system training,
3) Students should have knowledge of Windows 95, which could be taught during orientation,
4) The students prior to classes should know basic computer skills such as typing and math calculations.
It was also mentioned that there should be different levels of computer classes offered and placement test should be available. The group felt that there should be some type of overall requirement to get into some classes and there should be some courses for students with no prior computer experience. It was mentioned that the current levels of computer classes offered are confusing.
What technologies are necessary for supporting student learning?
Students felt that use of the web for posting class syllabi, notes and assignments is very useful and makes the material much more accessible. However, there were several complaints including:
1) Instructors often waste valuable time trying to figure out the equipment (such as PowerPoint),
2) Some professors go too fast because they put so much on the web and go over less in class,
3) Students have to cram because so much information is on the web.
It was also mentioned that having so much information on the web makes it easier to skip classes.
Discussion on Funded Projects
Which of the funded Technology Fee Projects are you aware of?
This question spurred a large discussion, most, of which included questions regarding where the money is spent. Some students however, were aware of several of the projects. Projects that were mentioned include:
Outfitting of 2 classrooms each year with computer hook-ups and LCD’s
Residence Hall clusters
Money to pay assistants in clusters
Some students mentioned that the residence hall clusters are extremely beneficial because students can easily access their e-mail accounts. They also felt that having clusters in different buildings was beneficial because it made the computers more accessible.
Some of the complaints included:
1) There needs to be an increased number of assistants in the various clusters. There was also a concern as to how well the assistants were trained. Some felt that they were often unable to answer the students’ questions when asked.
2) It was also mentioned that too much money goes into laptop funding. The students believed there are not enough students using laptops to justify the amount of money that is spent on them. They also stated that the price for an Ethernet card is too high. It was voiced that during high-usage times, it is difficult to get a line.
3) Some felt that the University Village and Bison Courts should have computer hook ups.
4) Some people come into use the Stockbridge computer cluster from across the street even though they don’t live there.
What projects affected your campus experience?
The group agreed that there were several projects that had a significant impact on their campus experience. These projects include:
1) Residence Hall computer clusters
2) Laser Printing
3) Scanning Machines
What effect did these projects have on your campus experience?
The students agreed that many of the funded projects have made for a positive campus experience. Accessibility to the latest equipment was the most common theme of the discussion. Projects the students felt have impacted their campus experience included:
1) Residence Hall clusters which made it easy to access the computer programs and e-mail accounts.
2) Classrooms equipped with the latest computer technology. Participants felt that more classrooms should be better equipped.
3) All students agreed that Laser printing is vital because it gives them access to quality printouts every time. More printers in the clusters were also suggested.
Which projects should be continued?
The group felt that most all the projects were worthwhile. The ones that most of the students agreed on were:
1) Laser Printing
2) Modem Pool
3) Residence Hall Clusters
4) Multi-media carts
It was suggested that the modem pool be upgraded to 56k. The reason for this would be that it would minimize the downloading time and people wouldn’t be on the computers as long.
Which projects should not again be funded?
There was only mention of one project they felt was not as worthy of tech fee dollars. That was the money allotted for the laptop hook ups. The reason cited for this was that there are such a small number of students using them. There was a fair amount of discussion however, regarding the fact that Architecture students are required to have laptops making the laptop hook-ups necessary.
Although not directly related to the question, some students felt that the information on campus regarding where the technology is located is very poor. They felt that many students don’t know where things are such as the data ports in Morrill. It was suggested that the information be included in orientation and be posted in the buildings.
Discussion of the Funding Process
Was the funding process fair last year?
The discussion on the funding process was quite brief. The students felt they had limited knowledge regarding the process and therefore could not make an entirely accurate judgement. However, as far as they knew, the process was relatively fair.
Have any of you been involved in a grant or applied for a grant from the tech fee committee?
No members had been involved or applied for a grant from the tech fee committee.
What kind of information would you like to receive after the grant application process?
This question was not applicable to the group.
If you were denied funding from the tech fee committee, were you provided with enough information to understand why you weren’t funded?
This question was not applicable to the group.
Discussion of Future Changes
How would you rank the target areas for last years fund cycle?
The group discussed two areas they felt were very important to the funding cycle:
1) Printing is vital to students, although there is far too much waste,
2) Technology should be made more handicap accessible.
It was discussed that printing waste is a huge problem in the clusters. Suggestions to stop this waste were to possibly have scanned cards students used when they printed. It was also mentioned that maybe there could be more people employed to look after this problem.
Would you eliminate any target areas from this year’s request for proposals?
This question did not generate much discussion either because the students felt that they were not knowledgeable enough to make a judgement.
What new target areas would you add?
This question did not generate much of a discussion. The students felt that some areas that need improvement (some non-technology) were:
1) New screens to pull down for overhead projectors because many are dirty and ripped (specifically in Minard),
2) New desks are needed in many of the building as the current ones either need to be repaired and in some cases, are too small,
3) Technology for students with disabilities.
How would you change the funding process?
The group did not have any suggestions for changing the funding process. As far as they were aware, it seemed to be a fair process.