Technology Planning

IUC & Technology Planning Guidelines and Suggestions

  • Consider the seven technology areas listed below in your departmental technology planning process.
  • When submitting your annual Instructional Use of Computing (IUC) proposal, include departmental technology priorities both across and within all seven areas. (For example, detail whether your 5th highest desktop computer replacement is a higher priority than your first instructional project.)
  • Information regarding departmental priorities will be used as the basis for allocation of IUC and any other technology funds.

Help@LSIT can assist departments with the technology planning process. Staff can participate in departmental tech committee meetings, research technology options to solve department goals, identify costs associated with specific requests, and consult with departments in a variety of ways. For assistance, please contact help@lsit.ucsb.edu.

Desktop computers & peripherals for faculty & staff

Your technology plan should account for the routine cyclical replacement of aging equipment. (Old equipment failure is predictable, and there is no separate funding source for emergency replacement of failed equipment).

  • Many departments use a spreadsheet to track their computer equipment. View our sample spreadsheet.
  • For departments using Help@LSIT support, pay attention to our list of supported, not recommended, and not supported hardware and software. Computers in production roles in the department that are not supported should be replaced, or alternative approaches to the production needs should be identified.
  • A common problem is caused when funding is provided to replace an old computer, and then that system is re-deployed elsewhere in the department. Even if the older system can fill some role for a short time, this creates an expectation of that computer being replaced in that new role when it fails. Computers can only be replaced once; expansion of the number of computers in use by the department should be explicit in the department's planning process to account for the increased commitment needed for routine replacements.
  • Departments need to be strategic in how they approximate the target of having a current computer for each staff and faculty. Part-time staff or lecturers may need to share computers in a single location; visitors and post-docs may need to use a system in a department commons or in one of the Letters and Science Information Technology labs instead of in their office; older systems still in the supported category may be re-assigned to faculty who are rarely on campus or whose technical needs are basic to allow newer systems to go to those with more complex needs. This is an area where Help@LSIT can provide assistance by setting up configurations to support multiple users and by pointing you towards other departments who have tried different approaches to similar challenges.
  • For many departments in the HFA and SS divisions, the deans have pre-approved the routine replacement of primary computer systems for identified faculty and staff that can use a standard baseline configuration to meet their needs. This expedites the timely replacement of systems that both the department and the division have determined to be a top priority use of IUC funds. Requests for specific configurations or systems not on the replacement schedule may be submitted as part of the departmental IUC proposal. Be sure to rank the priority of those requests compared to other items in your proposal. For more information about the routine replacement process, contact the LSIT Helpdesk.
  • Many faculty have requested laptop computers as their primary system in order to take advantage of the benefits of mobility for teaching and research. Although the benefits are clear, laptops are not currently recommended as primary systems, due to higher cost, lower performance/cost ratio, increased damage risk, fewer ergonomic options, and limited remote support and onsite component replacement. For more information regarding laptop requests, contact the LSIT Helpdesk.
  • Allocations for computer replacements are based on the cost for a baseline system meeting general needs. There is no automatic subsidy for specific brands or configurations to match previous systems. If you have specific functional needs beyond the baseline, they can be identified and prioritized as part of the department proposal.
  • Because of limited funding, your IUC proposal should rank the priority of any exceptional replacement requests. For example, a department may request a TA course materials development workstation and an enhanced configuration for one faculty member. The proposal should indicate which is the higher priority for the department.
  • There is no Letters and Science policy regarding faculty taking university computers home; it is up to each department to determine what is right in each circumstance. However, two common issues associated with home systems deserve mention. First, Help@LSIT does not do housecalls, so support for these systems can be problematic. (Also note that many common home uses for computers, such as games, can conflict with the standard communications tools required for accessing UCSB resources remotely; there is no campus support for getting your analytical tools to co-exist with Reader Rabbit.) Second, there is no current L&S funding to provide a second computer, so a faculty member with a computer at home will usually not have a supportable computer available in their office on campus.

Software

Don't forget software! With very few exceptions, software applications are not purchased centrally or site licensed for departmental use. Operating system upgrades, productivity software (e.g., MS Office) upgrades and new installations, utilities, and discipline-specific applications (including server-based applications) should all be considered as part of the department technology plan. Most departments take advantage of the Microsoft Consolidated Campus Agreement (MCCA), which provides licenses for a broad range of Microsoft software on a per-capita basis.

For more information about the details of this program, contact the LSIT Helpdesk.

Because of escalating software costs, many important applications are very difficult to afford outside of the IUC process. Please use this planning process as an opportunity to survey your department's needs for all software licenses for the year, no matter when the renewal cycle occurs on the calendar.

Software piracy is against the law and UC policy. Help@LSIT will not install or support applications that have not been appropriately purchased. Departments need to track their own license status for installed software.

In your IUC proposal, be sure to include requests for any software you need us to install in our labs to support your courses. If we don't know about it, we're not going to have a budget to purchase it.

Networking

Indicate any departmental plans that would require expansion or enhancement of network services, so we can build this into our College network plans. In general, we try to fund networking needs outside the process of IUC allocations to departments; but the IUC proposal is the place to let us know what your needs are in this area.

Examples of things we need to know about in your proposal in order to identify solutions in a timely manner:

  • Plans that involve a significant number of new network connections in a department (e.g., deciding to provide new network connections for 10 teaching assistant offices).
  • Plans to use existing spaces different (e.g., converting a faculty office with one network connection to a research lab with 6 connections needed).
  • Remodeling plans that involve bringing network connections to spaces current without any connections. (Don't forget to let Communications Services know about any need for phones in these plans, too!)
  • Cyclical replacement of departmental network equipment.

Instructional technology: Collaborate & IUC

The Collaborate instructional technology enhancement initiative will be providing services in support of

  • online materials and tools
  • instructional labs
  • classroom technology for presentation and interaction, and
  • online academic advising services.

Departmental priorities in these areas should be included as part of the annual call for proposals; we will work with the deans to determine the appropriate approach and funding source to achieve those priorities. More information about Collaborate Services.

  • Identify any anticipated usage and special hardware and software requirements for the Collaborate instructional labs, including Phelps, Social Sciences and Media Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences Building and Psychology East.
  • Reserve lab time as soon as you know you need it. Lab space cannot be reserved via the Registrar.
  • Departmental labs need to be supported by the department; limited LSIT resources do not allow us to provide support for departmental labs. It is strongly recommended that departments use the supported Collaborate labs rather than attempt to support a departmental lab without dedicated technical staff. Under-supported multi-user facilities are consistent sources of system failures, inappropriate software installation, viruses and compromised systems, and copyright violations
  • If your department does have a supported lab, include cyclical replacement of those systems in your proposal. Because of limited funding, you should always look for creative ways to re-assign systems between various departmental needs.
  • Prioritize any ongoing and new departmental instructional projects, indicating relationship between the project and overall departmental instructional goals, the number of students impacted by the project, the expected lifespan of the project, and the annual cost for maintaining the project as well as any first year start-up expenses for new projects.
  • We encourage faculty to use the Mini-Grants and Instructional Improvement Grants available from the Office of Instructional Consultation to support their instructional technology goals.

Support staff needs

Even though funding for IT staff augmentations is rarely available, your planning process should indicate desired enhancements to IT support staff, prioritized in comparison to other IT needs. You should include the costs of providing necessary training in new technologies for existing staff. Also list any departmental expectations for increased support from Letters and Science Information Technology Services. (Note: in the current job market it is nearly impossible to fill partial FTE in technical classifications. When funding is available, requests from multiple departments for partial FTE may be combined into viable positions with coordinated management if this is desired by the departments.)

Year Round Enrollment

With the increasing role of Summer Session as a fourth quarter comparable to the rest of the year, it is important for departments to consider the impacts of year-round enrollment on their technology and support needs. Summer impacts should be included in each of the areas of the department technology plan.

Support for research computing

Although almost all research computing is funded through extramural and departmental sources, your departmental technology plan should consider any exceptional needs for support of research, as well as the impacts of departmental investments in research computing that limits departmental funds available for instructional computing.