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Office of Information Technology's Role in
Supporting the Student Computer Ownership Program

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is playing an important role in planning and supporting the Student Computer Ownership Program (SCO). A pilot program begins Summer Quarter with the full program scheduled to begin Fall Quarter.

Customer Service - User Assistance

The Support Posture for student owned computers will be a layered approach giving students a cost effective and responsive means of support. In addition, this approach will be a sustainable support structure for the Institute as demand grows.

Level 1 Support

Level one support will be provided through the use of student user assistants (UAs) and residence hall technical assistants (RTAs), both in the dorms and in the public clusters. Freshmen will be able to access online assistance: a knowledge base with information on several of the required software applications and a Web page for submitting requests for assistance . All Customer Support Center (CSC) user assistants will be trained by OIT to answer frequently asked questions about configuration and software installation issues. Several seminars geared specifically to freshman are planned to coincide with the upcoming FASET and Welcome Week programs.

The CSC will provide support by adding two User Assistants (UA) to augment the existing CSC support. These students will be trained and managed by OIT and will provide a "second shift" CSC operation to assist students, faculty, and staff working in the evening hours. CSC students will be housed in the Rich Building and available through the existing communication methods (walk-in, telephone, e-mail, fax). Initially, students will work from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Sunday from 12:00 noon until 10:00 p.m. Additionally, two students funded by Waterloo Maple Inc. will be available in the CSC to answer specific Maple software application questions. The anticipated hours of availability for the Maple Ambassadors is Monday through Thursday, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

On campus resident students needing assistance with networking set up or configuration questions will contact the RTAs. Students not living in residence halls may contact either their "Internet Service Provider" (i.e. Campus MCI) for connection related requests or the CSC to obtain help with supported software applications, and hardware and software configuration settings.

Level 2 Support

The CSC will provide level two support. If the UAs or RTAs are unable to resolve problems, they would contact the CSC for additional help and trouble shooting expertise. The CSC will add an additional full time support specialist to work a bridge shift from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The specialist, along with other CSC staff members, will be available to assist all campus users, including those students residing on campus.

Further, a number of computer seminars are being planned to assist incoming freshman with computer related problems. These seminars will be held in conjunction with FASET and Welcome Week.

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Training through Campus Programs

As a participant in FASET, OIT will provide training to incoming freshmen during the months of June, July, August and September. In addition, the CSC is working closely with the Computer Store to create "How-to" documents and installation instructions for the software applications. Installation instructions will be printed on the CD package and available via the web. The CSC is also currently working with the Freshman Experience Program to create class assignments for all Psychology 1010 students that will familiarize freshman with the computer resources available to them. If needed, this module can be adapted to address students outside of the Psychology 1010 group.

Computer Repair Facility

Field Services (FS) already has the structure to support student computer ownership hardware maintenance and repair. Students currently have repair work done by dropping their equipment off at the GT Computer Store repair counter where it is immediately turned over to FS. A request is logged into the Field Services area in the Remedy system to be processed and monitored by FS repair personnel. When repairs are completed, the end user is notified that the system is ready for pick-up. Field Services is an authorized warranty service facility for Apple and IBM. Field Services' mission is to provide on-site support for both warranty work and non-warranty fee-based repair. Negotiations with Dell, HP and PowerComputing are in-progress to provide authorized warranty service for these system.

Network

All residence hall rooms have network connections. To "activate" a connection the student with a valid GT account must simply access an OIT World Wide Web (WWW) page and respond to several questions. This process takes place at the RTA workstation point of presence provided by Housing, or at a public cluster machine. Housing has also established a WWW page to help students step through this process. If a student has any problems in this process, they will contact their Housing RTA or the RTA management person.

The Operations and Engineering group is responsible for maintaining the electronics associated with connectivity to the campus network.

Students not living in residence halls can contact Campus MCI (an Internet service provider under contract with the Board of Regents and Georgia Tech) to obtain PPP dial-in service access to the Georgia Tech Network. Additionally, as stated in section 1.1 students may also contact the CSC for any after hours support issue or connectivity issue not related to dormitory specific problems.

Printing

Printing, especially in a mobile environment, is a challenge. Based on experience of other institutions, many students may purchase printers for their own convenience. Students will have access to public cluster printers and will be able to continue to use the main central printing available via the Prism complex. Additionally, OIT and Auxiliary Services is investigating remote, pay-per-page printing solutions for future implementation. These solutions will allow network accessible printers to be stationed at various locations across campus and in the residence halls, and provided to students on a pay-per-page basis. Implementation of a remote solution in the FY98 time frame may be accomplished.

Computer Clusters

There will be a continued need for OIT to maintain some clusters with the same computing capability as the student-owned systems. Students who commute from off-campus will need access to computing resources during periods between classes. Students living on-campus will likely make use of such clusters while on campus or between classes. In addition, computer clusters will make it possible for students to work on critical projects while their own computers are being repaired. OIT is currently maintaining two 24-hour clusters located in the Student Center and Rich Building. These will be available to all faculty, staff, and students running the same suite of software required by the student computer ownership program. The two look-alike clusters, with computer configurations meeting the minimum requirement specifications, have been identified as the Student Center cluster and the Library Dell cluster. OIT is planning to augment these facilities with "docking ports" and wireless connectivity to allow users to access the network using their portable machines.

SCO Software Distribution

OIT has provided the Computer Store with software currently offered by OIT, for distribution. The goal is to make the required software bundle available to all faculty, staff, and students. The following software was provided, free of charge, to the Computer Store for the SCO program software bundle.

Eudora-Pro 3.0 - (OIT pays $5K per year for this and gives it free to all campus users) Telnet 2.7 - (OIT gets it from BOR and distributes it free of charge to all campus users) Netscape 3.0 - (Allows educational users to use it free)

Summary

OIT has the charge and responsibility for managing information technology programs (policies, procedures, and support) and for managing software licenses and distribution for campus wide packages which span the entire campus community and affect the general population. Therefore, OIT will continue to play an integral part in the support of the SCO program as it affects all students and faculty at Georgia Tech.


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Notwithstanding any language to the contrary, nothing contained herein constitutes nor is intended to constitute an offer, inducement, promise, or contract of any kind. The data contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not represented to be error free. Any links to non-Georgia Tech information are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by the Georgia Institute of Technology  of the linked materials.
Last Modified: September 11, 1998 5:00pm
Approved by External Affairs 10/23/97