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Student Computer Ownership Committee Recommendations

To: Richard P. Barke, Chair, Faculty Executive Board
From: 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)
Subject: SCO Committee Recommendations for computer support policies
Date: June 2, 1998
xc: 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 support purposes.

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 altogether.

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 not guaranteed.

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 website.

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 task.

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 posting.


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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