Student Computer Ownership Committee Minutes

September 17th, 4:00 pm



Members Present: Gregory Abowd (CoC), Linda Cabot (OIT), Eric Carlen (Math), Jim McClelland (ECE), Matthew Realff (ChE – outgoing chair), Kathy Tomaiko (Library), Miles (Resnet)



There were four major items to be discussed:


1)  The new chair of the committee. This was chosen from amongst the eligible faculty and Greg Abowd volunteered and was duly elected.

2)      The “Library Commons” project. This is a project to renovate space in the library to provide a “pilot” for the new learning center. The renovation will cause the closure of two current computer clusters, the library basement, and the French building. The number of computers may decrease but the hours of operation will increase. The clusters will remain free for students to use as opposed to being reserved for classes. The idea is to provide space where students can have access to computers – but not necessarily hardwired machines provided in a cluster environment. The committee is being asked to provide input on what responsibilities and services the space should allow. The timing on the input will be determined by the next meeting of the library commons group, but it is expected to be within this semester.

3)      Funding – there is still a question surrounding the long-term funding of activities associated with supporting student computer ownership. This revolves around questions of hardware upgrades and capital expenditures to improve access for students in campus housing, and in “public health” software such as virus protection software. It is still the feeling of the committee that these items should be line items rather than supported by a technology fee proposal or as part of an OIT budget.

4)      The procedure for gathering input on software from faculty was also brought to

question. The procedure last year was:

a.   A note was circulated to all the academic faculty by Secretary of the Faculty Ed Thomas two weeks prior to a scheduled SCOC meeting. The note asked for faculty to send their requests to the chair of the committee and then if they wanted to come to the scheduled meeting to give their input. The guidelines provided were that the software should be something the entire GIT undergraduate body could be expected to use during their time at Tech and that the decision would be based on the benefits and costs, such as support.

b.  The suggestions were circulated to the committee members, and Linda Cabot found out the cost of a site license and student license for the software suggestions (of which there were three, SAS, another computational product, and adobe acrobat suite).

c.   The committee met on the appointed day and discussed the options with input on costs of the software from Linda Cabot. The committee declined all three requests for different reasons. The first two were declined because they were regarded as too narrow in scope, applying to particular academic units rather than campus wide. The adobe acrobat suite was rejected on the basis of cost of site license and cost to the students themselves - $100.

d.   The faculty were informed of the committee’s recommendations. The committee felt that it was not clear if this procedure really worked very well, the input was minimal and the requests could probably have been assessed by the individuals without the need of involving the committee. The committee thought it should probably look at this approach again this year.


The next meeting of the committee was fixed for October 22, 2001 at 4:00 pm, this will be used to discuss the library commons project.



Respectfully submitted,


Greg Abowd