||Richard P. Barke, Chair, Faculty Executive Board
||Student Computer Ownership Committee - Jay Bolter, Glenn Boyett, Linda
Cabot, Eric Carlen, Bryan Carr, Kelly Coker, Paul Gulley, Richard LeBlanc, Jim McClellan,
and Marc Smith (Chair)
||SCO Committee Recommendations for computer support policies
||June 2, 1998
||Gordon D. Wishon, Michael E. Thomas
The Student Computer Ownership Initiative obligates Georgia Tech to provide a certain
level of computer hardware and software support to our students. To help meet this
obligation, the Student Computer Ownership Committee feels that is necessary to adopt some
basic computer support policies. These policies should help Georgia Tech, especially OIT
and Auxiliary Services, in its efforts to provide the services needed by the students. The
following policies have been approved by the SCOC and we now present them to the Faculty
Executive Board for final approval.
1. Standard Software Suite
1.1 The standard software suite is a collection of productivity software
intended for student and faculty use at Georgia Tech.
1.2 The elements of the standard suite will be defined annually on May
1. This software suite will then be used for the next academic year, i.e., the next Summer
term through the following Spring term. The SCOC will make its decision with regard to the
elements of the suite on March 1. This information will then be communicated to the Vice
Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, OIT, and Auxiliary Services so that they can be
prepared for the new suite on its implementation date of May 1. The SCOC will also post
this information on the SCO website.
1.3 It is not guaranteed that the version of any software package in the
current standard software suite will be the newest version.
1.4 The SCOC will gather information from students, faculty, and staff
to support their decisions on the elements of the standard software suite. This
information will come from web-based survey instruments, verbal input from faculty,
students, and staff, the OIT software support database, and any other reliable source.
1.5 OIT will evaluate any newer version of a software package that is
currently a member of the standard software suite. This evaluation will be done for
nominal support purposes and to provide information to the SCOC on whether this newer
version should be selected for the standard software suite of the next year.
2. Software Support
2.1 Students and faculty will receive full software support for all of
the software in the standard software suite for the current academic year and for the
software in the standard software suite of the immediately preceding year. These two
software suites will be installed and maintained on representative computers at OIT for
2.2 Software that is no longer in the current year software suite or in
the software suite of the immediately preceding year will be supported to the best of
OIT's ability. However, resolution of any such software problem is not guaranteed. This
rule applies whether the software in question is just an older version of software still
in the standard suite or a software package that has been dropped from the standard suite
2.3 A newer version of any software package currently in the software
suite will also be supported to the best of OIT's ability. However, problem resolution is
2.4 If, to the best of its ability, OIT can not resolve a problem with
some software not in the current or in the previous year's standard software suite, they
will direct the person to any additional sources of support, such as the software
manufacturer, other web sites, etc.
2.5 There is no policy that guarantees a student a full four years of
full software support for the standard software suite in effect during the year that they
entered Georgia Tech.
2.6 When faculty assign computer-based homework, they are expected to be
current with the software in the standard software suite.
3. Minimum Computer Hardware Specification
3.1 The minimum computer hardware specification is the minimum hardware
required to run the software in the standard software suite. This specification is
intended as a guide for students who currently own a computer when they enroll at Georgia
Tech on whether they should upgrade or purchase a new computer.
3.2 The minimum computer hardware specification will be defined annually
on May 1. It will be in effect for the next academic year, i.e., the next Summer term
through the following Spring term. The SCOC will make its decision with regard to the
specification on March 1. This information will then be communicated to the Vice Provost
for Undergraduate Affairs, OIT, and Auxiliary Services so that they can be prepared for
the implementation date of May 1. The SCOC will also post this information on the SCO
3.3 Minimum computer specifications will be set for the following items:
processor type and speed, amount of memory, disk drive size, CD-ROM drive speed, and
monitor resolution. In addition, sound cards, speakers, network interface cards, and
modems will be specified to some degree.
3.4 Most of the minimum computer specifications will be based on the
standard software suite. The system requirements for each component of the software suite
will be combined to produce a minimum specification in each category.
3.5 The SCOC will monitor the adequacy of the minimum hardware
specification based on input from students, faculty, and staff. This information will come
from web-based survey instruments, verbal input from faculty, students, and staff, and any
other reliable source. The OIT Division of Customer Support will provide to the SCOC in
mid-January a report on hardware support problems for the previous year to aid in this
4. Recommended Computer Hardware Specification
4.1 The recommended computer hardware specification is intended for
students who wish to purchase a new computer. This computer specification gives the
student a good cost/performance compromise and it should provide the necessary
capabilities to the student for two to three years. In no way do we guarantee that this
computer specification will last the student for four full years at Georgia Tech. Some
hardware upgrades or even a new computer purchase may be necessary, depending on the
student's major, their computer skills, and other requirements.
4.2 The SCOC will make its decision on the recommended computer hardware
specification based on information about the product line at the Georgia Tech Computer
Store and from other computer stores in the Atlanta area.
4.3 The recommended computer hardware specification will be posted on
the SCO website periodically as the computer market changes. At a minimum. this should be
done three times a year, about a month before the start of each semester, i.e., May 1,
July 15, and December 15.
5. SCO Website
5.1 In order to collect and distribute the information required to
support the decisions required of the SCOC, a dedicated SCO web site is needed. Such a
site currently exists, but it will need better support in the future.
5.2 The SCO web site should provide the following information: a
statement of the basic SCO policy, the standard software suite for the current and the
previous academic years, the minimum hardware requirements, the recommended computer
system, basic computer support information, a frequently asked questions list, links to
download any available software, contact information, etc.
5.3 The SCO web site should also be used to collect information from the
students, faculty, and staff. Web-based survey forms would do this job well. Forms should
be implemented to collect feedback on the standard software suite, hardware requirements,
and support issues. Also, specific forms for people to request additions or modifications
to the standard software suite should be available.
5.4 The development and support of this web site should be assigned to
an OIT staff person. While this would not be a full-time position, we feel that a high
priority level should be attached to this work.
5.4.1 The main role of the OIT support person is to provide software and
computer support for the web site, the compilation and distribution of the information
from the web-based forms, and the posting and maintenance of the information on the site.
5.4.2 The role of the SCOC is to design and modify the web-based forms
as needed, to evaluate the results from these forms, and to forward any of their changes
in the information content of the web site to the appropriate OIT staff person for