Volume 4 Issue 7July/August 2000
Technology Plan II for California Community Colleges
The California Community Colleges Chancellors Office (CCCCO), in conjunction with a shared governance committee called the Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Committee (TTAC), has been working on a major update to the systemwide technology plan for California community colleges.
The previous technology plan (Technology Plan I) created several major infrastructure initiatives which 1) established network intercon-nectivity linking CSUs and community colleges (4CNet), 2) instituted standards for satellite communication, and 3) facilitated statewide video conferencing. Additionally, Technology Plan I strengthened the librarys use of the technology and provided resources for technical training.
The purpose of the second plan, Technology Plan II, is to address several emerging issues affecting the community college mission as outlined below:
- The increased enrollment from students who will be entering community colleges in the next decade (Tidal Wave II) will create additional demand for technology services that can only be met by additional investment into the infrastructure.
- The ability to use the Internet has become a required job skill, both a means of communication and as an expanded source of information, and these skills must be taught to students by educational systems including community colleges.
- Many faculty do not have appropriate technology training for finding and using the right technology tools to achieve the desired instructional outcomes.
- Community colleges have large inventories of obsolete equipment and inadequate support staffs, making their technology resources costly to support and leading to poor training environments for students.
- The lack of adequate technology planning by some community colleges leads to poor utilization of existing and future resources.
- The need for electronic access to Internet resources continues to grow exponentially and already 19 percent of community college sites will be at capacity in a matter of months.
- Without deliberate consideration, planning, and implementation, access to information technology resources will be constrained for students with disabilities
Technology Plan II has been limited in scope to only address two major goals: improving student access and student success. Other important areas affecting technology were not included in the plan such as those technology needs for supporting administrative and student services functions. These will be addressed in future planning efforts. Also, Technology Plan II primarily addresses information technology assets and does not include non-computer technology commonly in use on community college campuses.
The intent of Technology Plan II is to provide a baseline level of technology for students, faculty and staff, to meet the following goals:
- A ratio of 1 computer for every 20 students
- A computer for each full-time faculty member, adequate access to computers for all part-time faculty, and computers for appropriate administrative and support staff
- A three year replacement cycle for computers
- Access for students, faculty and staff to: printers, their local area network, office productivity software, virus protection software, e-mail, the Internet, and other key information resources.
- 10 percent of all workstations equipped for disabled access
- Staffing for technical support as well as direct assistance to students and faculty
- Ongoing technical training for faculty and staff
The development of a budget for implementing Technology Plan II was based upon a concept called the "Total Cost of Ownership" or TCO. The TCO model aggregates and averages all one time and recurring costs associated with purchasing and maintaining hardware/software as well as training users how to maintain and use the equipment. With the assistance of GartnerGroup, a well-known international consultant in information technology services, TTAC developed an estimate of the TCO for the average community college resulting in a figure of $3,506 per computer. When taken at face value, this TCO value means that each computer costs the college an average of $3,506 annually to acquire and support.
The result of the Technology Plan II will be a multi-year budget/funding request to augment the existing base funding to community colleges in technology. The current budget plan includes $27.9M of augmentation for fiscal year 2000-01, $145.3M for 2001-2, $15.7M for year 2002-03, $18.8M for year 2003-04, and $4.8M for year 2004-2005 but this budget is also subject to revision as noted below.
Technology Plan II is now going through a review (and subsequent modification) with the Consultation Counsel and the Board of Governors. After approval, the plan will need funding authority by the legislature for implementation, so Technology Plan II still has some hurdles to cross before its benefits will be visible on community college campuses.