renivests savings into academic projects
you ever wonder what happens to the savings promised by new technology?
here's at least one answer.
Technology and Communications recently announced that it has
begun redirecting to academic projects more than $170,000 in annual
administrative savings, mostly from substituting online forms
for paper versions. And more money may be on the way.
are two kinds of online forms, accessed via the Forms Directory
One group can be printed and filled out as needed, thus redistributing
printing costs and making it easier (and less wasteful) to update
the forms. Even more efficient are some forms that can be completed
online and routed to the appropriate office. The online forms
reduce paper and microfiche costs and the need to pay data-entry
are identifiable, real out-of-pocket costs," said Robert
Reynolds, interim vice president for communications. ITC has identified
six academic-related areas in which to reinvest. They are:
Enhancements to the Instructional Toolkit, totaling $22,700.
The Toolkit, used by instructional faculty to create class home
pages and administer and manage courses, has been incorporated
into 40 percent of spring-semester course offerings.
Funding half of the cost a University-wide license for Adobe
Acrobat, software that will ease online research proposal submissions.
Several major funding agencies, including the National Science
Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, have begun
to require grant proposals to be submitted electronically. The
Adobe Acrobat Reader, which allows users to read such documents,
is freely available, but the software license to create the
documents is not; ITC will split the $30,000 cost with the Office
of the Vice President for Research and Public Service.
Enhancements to the Home Directory Service, which allows students,
faculty and staff to easily store and access their files online,
from a number of work stations. ITC will put $30,325 toward
increasing capacity and testing new software to make using the
directories even easier.
Enhancing and extending videoconferencing services, at a cost
of $34,000. ITC is working toward enabling office-to-office
videoconferencing and making it easier for guest lecturers to
"appear" in classrooms without having to travel to
Providing faculty support at the Robertson Media Center Digital
Media Lab. ITC plans to spend $39,000 toward creating a shared
position to support faculty instructional technology projects.
A $30,000 grant to the Institute for Advanced Technology in
the Humanities, for system administration and hardware and software
officials said they expect the reinvestments to continue each
year. The savings could be hugely enhanced by legislation making
electronic signatures legally binding, which would allow greater
use of online forms and have "a major impact on how we do
business," Reynolds said.