NVCC LOGO
Northern Virginia Community College
Technology Plan
1999 - 2001

 
 Introduction

In the three years that Northern Virginia Community College has done formal Technology Planning and had significant technology funds, it has made dramatic progress in making modern technology part of its culture. The College has successfully implemented each of its annual Technology Plans. There are now modern computers on every faculty and staff desk, and there are hundreds of computers for students. Modern office software and access to the Internet is on every computer. Faculty and staff have participated in hundreds of hours of technology and technology tools training. E-mail for all faculty, staff and students has been implemented. There are over 120 distance education courses, many on the Web, and the Web is a significant component in more than 85 courses. Every computer is connected to the College-wide network, and all classrooms are also connected to the network. The College has an extensive presence on the Web, making it a critical communication link with students and the community at large. The College has also implemented a comprehensive support and governance structure including desktop technical support, a College-wide help desk, and automated support tools to allow remote loading of software and remote asset management.

 

College Mission and Strategic Goals

The mission of Northern Virginia Community College is to respond to the educational needs of its dynamic and diverse constituencies through comprehensive programs and services that facilitate learning in an environment of broad access and lifelong educational opportunities.

Among its Strategic Goals are:
 

Sustain and strengthen academic quality and teaching excellence.
Enhance the quality of services to students.
Further integrate technology in instruction and administration.
Increase access to college programs and services.
Improve the quality of institutional communication.
Develop programs which help build a world class workforce.
Promote responsiveness to diversity of students and employees.
Strengthen and develop more linkages with community groups.
Integrate college planning and facility requirements.
Enhance the overall wellness of our working and living environments.
This Technology Plan was developed to support this mission and these goals.

1999-2000 Technology Expectations

Based on the College's mission, strategic planning, accomplishments of the past three years of systematic technology planning and the current directions established for the VCCS, the following technology expectations have been identified for the College:

Applications Expectations

Faculty and staff members will use general office software tools on a regular basis to communicate with each other and with students.

General office software will be kept current (i.e., about I8 months maximum behind a current release).

A world wide web (WWW) home page and topic pages will be maintained for the college and each division. They will provide general college information services to students, staff and the public.

Network file and print services will meet VCCS guidelines

E-mail (POP3 compliant) including directory services will be available for every faculty and staff member, and for every student

Registration for services (e.g., E-mail) will follow the on-line registration application model that includes directory services, security, etc.

COV 95-1 disaster recovery planning documents will be completed and maintained. This includes impact and risk assessments for the whole College as well as each campus location to identify appropriate security, firewall, and disaster recovery processes that need to be installed following the appropriate VCCS models.

Year 2000 review and action program as outlined by the Council for Information Management will be completed. Monthly status reports on activities as mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia will be submitted.

VCCS policy 5.2.0.1 Computer Competency Requirements will be implemented.

The College will continue to contribute to the definition and design of the SIS model. The College will use the SIS model, when available, to prepare a college implementation plan for SIS.

The College will continue to participate in the process to convert to new technologies in order to accommodate the new SIS database and new AIS systems.

The College will implement the new IHRIS personnel system within the Department of Personnel and Training timetable and guidelines.

Resource 25 modules will be implemented, when available, to improve facilities scheduling, usage, and reporting through appropriate Resource 25 modules.

The College will continue to participate in the definition of requirements for a new Administrative Information System.

The College will develop a program of training for all appropriate staff in the Oracle products now available for use.

a. Concepts of relational data base

b. Query tools - reports, tabulations, labels, etc.

c. Application design and code generation

The College will continue to convert or build new courses based upon technology at each campus.

 

Desktop Computing Expectations

The College will meet the VCCS guidelines for desktop computer access:

    1. There will be a fully-featured Pentium networked computer that meets VCCS technical guidelines on every faculty and staff desk.
    1. There will be a minimum of one fully-featured Pentium a minimum of one computer for each 7% of FTES for student access in classrooms or labs that meets or exceeds minimum VCCS technical guidelines
 

Infrastructure Expectations

All primary workstation and laboratory microcomputers will continue to be connected to the campus network, and the campus network will continue to be accessible in all campus locations (offices, labs, classrooms, auditoria, etc.).

The network on each campus will continue to meet guidelines for cable and service levels.

Each campus network will continue to be connected to VCCnet following the System Office instructions and guidelines.

Faculty, staff, and students will continue to have dial-in access to the VCCS Intranet through their own local Internet service provider (ISP).

Each campus will continue to maintain at least one compressed video Commonwealth classroom.

Commonwealth Classrooms will be upgraded by conversion to ATM switched technology for point to point (2 locations) videoconference /distance learning sessions to eliminate the video bridge component for 2 way sessions.

Proxy servers and software will be installed to allow remote access to data bases and other resources.

The College will establish additional Intranet applications (e.g., a Net News capability for discussion groups, a push news delivery approach, chat rooms for collaborative projects).

 

Training Expectations

On-campus and off-campus professional development programs will be conducted that maximize faculty and staff exposure within the following categories.

a. General office tools & techniques
    1. Instructional tools & techniques
    2. New application tools and techniques
The College will continue to monitor and promote the acquisition of VCCS technology certification by the faculty and staff.

Governance and Support Expectations

The College's needs for functional technical support have been assessed, and the College will continue to provide:

a. Customer services through generalist technical support. b. Technical services support through a central division (Technical Support Services) staffed by appropriately trained engineers and on-campus technical staff. Teaching and Learning Expectations

The College will pursue curricular changes within academic disciplines and programs to incorporate information emanating from new technologies into course content where appropriate.

The College will, through training and other support mechanisms, encourage teaching faculty in developing the technological skills appropriate for their discipline or program.

The College will support continued operation of Teaching Learning Technology Roundtables on each campus and at the College level.

The College will provide training in software applications that deal with course content as well as with instructional techniques and administrative skills.

 

Technology Projects

To accomplish these expectations, the College will undertake the following projects over the next two year period.

Technology Support
1999-2000 $ 500,000           2000-2001 $ 500,000

Technology funds were added by the VCCS to the College's base budget to insure that at least 10 technical staff positions would be available for technology support. The College created 10 permanent positions as follows: Information Technology Managers at each campus, 2 Information Technology Specialists at Annandale, 1 Information Technology Specialist at Alexandria, and one generalist position at the Technical Applications Center. Additional permanent Information Technology Specialists at the campuses have been funded by the College with other General Funds. Other Generalist positions to support technology applications are provided by the Office of Information Technology and by the Campuses from their budgets. Network support and the College Help Desk will continue to be supported through the Technical Support Services budget. These staff assignments meet the minimum expectations set by the VCCS for specialist and generalist support.

 

Technology Lab Support
1999-2000 $ 200,000           2000-2001 $ 200,000

As the number of student computers was increased through prior technology plans, and more courses incorporated computer-related assignments, the need for additional technology lab support is important. The additional support is provided to offer increased hours of access and assistance in computer labs through student hire or P-14 employees. The distribution of technology lab support funds is as follows:

1999-2000 Technology Lab Support Funds
Alexandria
$ 51,600
Annandale
$ 75,000
Loudoun
$ 19,800
Manassas
$ 17,400
Woodbridge
$ 25,800
Extended Learning Institute*
$ 10,400
Total
$200,000
* To provide technical support to home study students.

Student Technology Support
1999-2000 $ 150,000           2000-2001 $ 150,000

With the increased use of computers in campus-based classes and the implementation of student e-mail, students' need for technical support has also increased. While existing lab staff can provide some support for on-campus students, students are increasingly using their own computers for college-work. The existing College help desk was not initially staffed to provide any technical support for students even those experiencing problems while using College-owned computers. The funds for this project will be used to augment the help desk to provide some technical support for students.
 

Campus Web Support
1999-2000 $75,000            2000-2001 $75,000

The Web has become a essential component of the College's overall communication strategy. In addition to providing increased distance education opportunities, it has become a "Virtual Campus" for all students. The time commitment for each division, campus and office to develop and maintain its web pages is significant. Two semesters per year of 20% reassigned time (or equivalent stipends) will be provided to each division, with additional $3,000 stipends for each campus and each College staff Dean for staff members to support use of the Web by other departments (e.g. LRCs, Student Development, Continuing Education, etc.)

Application Development
1999-2000 $ 210,000           2000-2001 $ 180,000

Each campus/college staff office will develop specific written plans in cooperation with its Campus Information Technology Group/Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable to provide for mentoring reassigned time, discipline-related software, ancillary equipment, supplies, access to computers for visually and auditorilly challenged students specialized training and other technology-related expenditures. The objectives of these plans are to research, develop and implement projects that will cultivate technology in classroom delivery systems and the fundamental operations of the College. The allocations to administrative units will also support the process re-engineering, design and implementation of new administrative systems.

The plans for use of these funds must describe the activities or items that will be funded, and briefly describe the objectives for that activity/item such that it can be assessed at the end of the year to determine whether the desired outcome was achieved.

At a minimum, the plans must include strategies to achieve the following objectives:

Development (or maintaining) a home page for each division.

Development of at least one new course (or significant course component) in each Division based on an application of technology (these can be in conjunction with ELI).

Establishment of a mentoring program to support faculty technology applications.

Purchase and implementation of discipline related software.

Development and implementation of specific plans, in conjunction with $184,112 of Classroom of the Future Funds, for equipping all classrooms with presentation equipment by the end of 2001-2002 so that a 4-year upgrade schedule can be established.

Assessment of the adequacy of the current technology plan for meeting the College's needs.

Funds can also be used for technology-related supplies, additional technology-related equipment, and training not supported directly by the Technology Plan training project.

The allocation of funds to each unit shown below is based on the College's regular enrollment-driven budget allocation model.

Application Development Support
Campus/Office
1999-2000
2000-2001
Alexandria
$ 44,940
$ 38,520
Annandale
$ 65,310
$ 55,980
Loudoun
$ 17,220
$ 14,760
Manassas
$ 15,120
$ 12,960
Woodbridge
$ 22,470
$ 19,260
Extended Learning Institute
$ 9,030
$ 7,740
Academic and Student Services
$ 9,870
$ 8,460
Administrative and Financial Services
$ 23,520
$ 20,160
President and College Relations
$ 2,520
$ 2,160
Total
$ 210,000
$ 180,000
 
Advanced Technology Development Support
1999-2000 $ 80,000           2000-2001 $ 40,000

A variety of technology projects cut across campuses or require funds beyond that which can be supplied through the normal Application Development funds. These projects may involve hardware, software or other support for which there is no other source. The College must also have some risk pool funds to experiment with new technologies in order to maintain its leadership position in the community. The Technology Plan funds only one Generalist position, though the VCCS standard calls for a minimum of five. While other budgets are being used to make up the difference, it is not enough. Some of these advanced technology development funds will be used to fund partial reassigned time for several faculty who can provide support services in connection with these college-wide projects.

Year 2000 Contingency Planning
1999-2000 $ 35,000           2000-2001 $ 0

Year 2000 preparations extend beyond renovating existing mainframe programs. The College is actively involved in developing alternative supply chain plans in case its normal vendors are adversely affected by Year 2000 problems. At the same time, the College is developing extensive contingency plans to cope with any disruptions to services that might take place. P-14 funds are being used to provide staff to assist with development and coordination of these contingency plans, and a reserve is needed to cover unanticipated costs that could cause significant problems if left unattended.

 
MS Office Upgrades
1999-2000 $ 74,000           2000-2001 $ 74,000

All Technology Plan computers are licensed for MS Office 97, the current version of this office suite. The College will be participating with the VCCS on a Microsoft site license that covers all machines for MS Office, MS BackOffice, MS Front Page and related products.

 
SIS/Self Study Reserve
1999-2000 $ 10,000           2000-2001 $ 10,000

Implementation of the new VCCS SIS/AIS and the College SACS self-study may create special hardware or software needs that cannot be anticipated at this time. A reserve fund is an appropriate strategy. If these funds are not needed for these purposes during 1999-2000, they can be used for advance purchase of 2000-2001 hardware or software in Spring 2000, freeing additional funds for the 2000-2001 plan.

 
Resource 25 Maintenance
1999-2000 $ 6,000           2000-2001 $ 6,000

The VCCS has mandated the Use of Resource 25 as the College's official resource utilization reporting software. It will interface with the new People Soft system. The VCCS will provide licenses for five users. To get full use of the Resource 25 software, the College will want to implement the Schedule 25 component and put the software on its own server. The cost of the annual maintenance agreement for Schedule 25 is not covered by the VCCS.

 
Compressed Video Network Maintenance Agreements
1999-2000 $21,000           2000-2001 $21,000

NVCC is a full participant in the VCCS Compressed Network and maintains at least on Commonwealth Video Classroom on each campus. The annual maintenance agreements are an essential part of network operations.

Compressed Video Network Upgrade
1999-2000 $14,500           2000-2001 $ 0

A network upgrade to accommodate connections to sites not part of Network Virginia will be added to the system during the Summer to allow Fall courses to be held as planned.

Training
1999-2000 $ 170,000           2000-2001 $ 120,000

Training continues to be a major component of the Technology Plan. During the period covered by this plan, several new software systems will be implemented. Therefore, priority for training activities will be given to training in the following areas: People Soft software, Resource 25 software, Oracle software, and Ethernet. In addition, it is expected that the VCCS will make even bigger commitments to the use of the Web, Web tools for instruction, and to the use of new desktop video technologies. Therefore, training in these technologies will also receive priority. As MS Office 2000 is implemented, training on use of its enhanced features will be needed. Participation by all faculty and staff in the VCCS Computer Certification program will continue to be strongly encouraged.

 Distance Learning
(Uses other budgeted funds)

The College will continue to develop both its asynchronous and synchronous distance learning courses using the Web, compressed video and other appropriate technologies. These courses will be made available statewide through the Virginia Distance Education Network, the SREB Electronic Campus, and the Commonwealth Electronic Campus. Emphasis will be placed on developing and supporting full degree programs and providing full access to student support services. The College now offers over 120 distance learning courses, and has 85 which are all or partially on the Web. (Funding is included in regular College budgets and through the application development funds above.)

 
Disaster Recovery
(Uses other budgeted funds)

Planning will continue to be done to accommodate potential major failures of systems run by the VCC Technical Utility, systems run by NVCC Technical Support Services, unforeseen problems resulting from implementation of the new SIS and administrative systems, failures of the compressed video network, and system failures resulting from conversion problems related to the Year 2000 (both within and outside College systems). (Funding is included in regular College budgets, through the application development funds and through continuation of the funds for Technology positions.)

 
E-mail and Directory Services
(Uses other budgeted funds)

Student and faculty e-mail has been fully implemented. E-mail can be accessed through the Web from any ISP. The College will fully participate in developing directory services that will form the backbone of the security and authentication services for new VCCS software. Any additional costs for maintaining the e-mail systems is included in other budgets.

 
Voice Mail and IP Phone Service
(Uses other budgeted funds)

Software-based voice mail for all faculty and staff will be implemented by Fall 1999. Plans for IP Phone service between campuses, as recommended by the VCCS, and for other uses will be developed and implemented as possible during 1999-2000. Additional funds for 1999-2000 other than those in existing budgets are not anticipated. Funds for 2000-2001 will depend on the plans developed and may be included in the Network Infrastructure upgrades.

Campus Network Cabling
(Uses other budged funds)

Campus Network Cabling additions or moves will be paid centrally out of existing technology unit budgets up to $ 25,000 per year. After that amount has been spent, each campus will be responsible for its own cabling costs.

Computer Upgrades
1999-2000 $1,143,000 2000-2001 $1,250,600

The NVCC Technology Plan is being increased to include 2,583 PCs and 155 MacIntosh computers. The increase results from an additional 32 PCs required to meet the VCCS minimum standards due to enrollment and staff growth. The Plan covers computers for all full-time faculty and staff plus one student computer for every 7% of FTES. In addition, 58 PCs were added to those already in the campus Testing Labs to accommodate additional on-line placement testing. With the additional computers, the College exceeds the 1 for 7% requirement.

The Technology Plan calls for a 4-year replacement cycle for computers covered by the College Technology Plan. PCs were not purchased in even numbers during the first 3 years of formal technology planning, as shown in the table below.

Technology Plan PC Purchases by Year
Year
Pentium PCs Purchased
Prior to 1996-97
435
1996-97
926
1997-98
760
1998-99
376
As a result, it will be necessary to adjust the number of new PCs purchased over the next several years to spread the cost more evenly to achieve a true 4-year replacement cycle. The additional PCs will be purchased in the Spring of each year covered by this Technology Plan. By doing this, a true 4-year replacement cycle can be achieved in 2002-2003.

Purchases will be based on replacing approximately 662 PCs each year (25% of the PCs in the Technology Plan). In 1999-2000 this requires that 525 Pentium PCs be purchased for the Fall, 435 Pentiums to replace the old Pentium PCs that existed prior to the first College Technology Plan plus 32 PCs required by enrollment growth and the 58 additional for the Testing Labs. In Spring 2000, 225 PCs will be purchased to begin the replacement of the large number of PCs originally purchased in 1996-97. In 2000-2001, it will be necessary to purchase 662 PCs in the Fall, and an additional 35 in the Spring. In 2001-2002, 662 PCs will be purchased in the Fall, with an additional 145 in the Spring or early Summer to complete the conversion to a 4-year replacement cycle. In addition it will be necessary to begin replacing old Macintosh computers over this three-year period so they will also be on a 4-year replacement cycle. (Budget Note: it was possible to purchase 70 of these PCs with 1998-99 Technology Plan funds saved from other projects that were accomplished under budget.)

The Plan does not require that the new computers go to those faculty and staff with the oldest computers. Computers can be shifted to accomplish the required computer upgrade objectives. Each campus and administrative unit will determine the specific assignment of their allocated computers provided they meet the following minimum objectives:

There must be a Pentium 133 or faster PC on all faculty and staff desks by the end of the Fall 1999 semester.

Campus Testing Center computers must be capable of running the college-wide versions of placement tests and English proficiency test software.

At least 1/3 of the new computers should be allocated to student desktops, with the expectation that more than that number will be allocated to student use if at all possible.

The allocation of new computers for each year of the Plan is shown below. For information purposes, the tentative allocation for 2001-2002 is shown as the 4-year replacement cycle is approached.
Allocation of New Staff and Student Computers
Campus/Office
Fall 1999
Spring 2000
2000-2001
2001-2002
Alexandria PCs

Macintosh

115
56
12
170
12
142
12
Annandale
104
80
245
206
Loudoun PCs

Macintosh

48
19
10
60
10
54
10
Manassas
24
18
58
48
Woodbridge
74
25
75
71
College Staff
84
27
89
141
New staff positions*
18
     
Total PCs
Total Macintosh
467
0
225
22
697
22
662 + 145
22
*For distribution among campuses and College Staff for positions added during 98-99.
Special Allocation of Additional PCs for Testing Labs
Campus/Office
Additional PCs
Replacements for Existing 486 and P100s
Alexandria 13 0
Annandale 22 0
Loudoun 8 0
Manassas 0 12
Woodbridge 3 0
Total
46 12
 

Campuses may purchase additional computers with other funds from the Technology Plan, from the Equipment Trust Fund, Classroom of the Future funds, or campus funds. However, all computers must meet the minimum computer standards as set by the VCCS unless the deviation from the standard is specifically approved through the process established by the Information Technology Committee (as required by the VCCS).

SIS Campus Servers
1999-2000 $100,000 2000-2001 $ 0

The implementation of the new VCCS Student Information System and Administrative Information Systems is scheduled to begin in 1999-2000. The infrastructure for these systems will require sharing the cost of the central application servers (currently estimated by the VCCS at $5,000 per campus), plus at least one file server on each campus (currently estimated at $12,500 per campus). One or more batch servers may also be required at the College.

Infrastructure Upgrades
1999-2000 $150,000 2000-2001 $100,000

The new VCCS Campus Infrastructure specifications call for at least partial conversion of NVCC's technology infrastructure to one using data switches (See http://www.so.cc.va.us/its/models/index.htm). This change will need to be initiated during 1999-2000 to meet the requirements of the People Soft software and the VCCS' planned desktop video applications. While every desktop does not need to be converted immediately, an initial backbone must be installed. The complete upgrade is scheduled to be completed over a four to five year period.

There are currently 130 network communication devices in use. Replacement switches will cost approximately $2,600 - $4,200 each (whether Token Ring or Ethernet). Approximately $20,000 in additional communication closet and network capacity is currently needed at Annandale and Alexandria. Action taken by the NVCC Information Technology Committee specifies that fast Ethernet switches be used instead of Token Ring switches. The cost off the switches is comparable, though it may be necessary to convert wall plates and network interface cards in PCs to complete the conversion. Some of the cost of this conversion will be offset by the lower cost of Ethernet network cards. Furthermore, Ethernet is now more of an industry standard than Token Ring. New products and software are often not available in Token Ring versions or are much more expensive or complicated if Token Ring must be used.

The 1999-2000 budget is split between M&O funds and an Equipment Trust Fund allocation for equipment.

SNA Replacement
1999-2000 $ 140,000 2000-2001 $ 0

NVCC is required to replace all existing SNA equipment, such as terminals and printers, when the new SIS is fully implemented in Fall 2000. While existing PCs being replaced by new purchases may be used to replace terminals, some modification for public area terminals may be needed. New printers will be required to replace the current SNA printers and meet the needs of the new SIS/AIS. The initial 1998 survey of SNA printers shows the following distribution. A follow-up survey will be needed to verify which of these will still be needed for the new software. For budget purposes, the 1998 plan used printer replacement costs of $1,500 - 3000, depending on use.

 

Tentative List of SNA Printers to Be Replaced
Alexandria
9
Annandale
22
Loudoun
4
Manassas
5
Woodbridge
3
Extended Learning Institute
1
College Staff
2
Total
46
 

 

Classroom of the Future Funds

Though not formally a part of the Technology Plan budget, Classroom of the Future Funds will be spent on classroom presentation equipment such as classroom computers, LCD projectors, video equipment, furniture/carts for the classroom presentation equipment, etc. This equipment is needed so that faculty can take advantage of the new technology on their desktops for presentations in the classroom. Each campus will develop written plans to identify the type of equipment being purchased, the number of items, the cost and how the items will be used if not clear from the item description. The goal is to equip all classrooms and to establish a 4-year upgrade schedule. The distribution of Classroom of the Future Funds will follow the College's regular enrollment-based model:

 

Classroom of the Future Funds Distribution
Campus
Amount
Alexandria
$ 45,982
Annandale
$ 61,104
Loudoun
$ 21,153
Manassas
$ 19,639
Woodbridge
$ 25,014
College Staff (ELI/TV/TAC)
$ 11,220
Total
$ 184,112
   
anticipated sourcesof funds
 
 

This page maintained by Steven G. Sachs, Associate Dean for Information Technology

Last update: 6/15/99
nvsachs@nvcc.edu