Reasons for UNC-CH participation
UNC-CH Chancellor Michael Hooker has placed instructional applications of information technology at the forefront of his agenda. To help further his vision, we are particularly interested in assessing the impact of the network on the cost, quality, and access to teaching and learning at UNC-CH. UNC-CH has implemented several new programs to spur the use of technology in university courses. For example, the Simple Start program uses the skills of graduate students from the School of Information and Library Science to provide professors from a wide range of disciplines one-on-one assistance in creating class Web pages, listservs and discussion boards; a $2 million faculty grant program was offered this spring; the University is offering several online courses; and the volume of online materials provided by the library continues to expand. In addition, the fiber network is being completed, campus residence hall rooms are in process of being connected to the network and low-cost dial-in Internet service is being made available through Bell South and the campus e-mail system has been significantly upgraded.
As these changes were underway last summer, the central IT organization conducted a series of focus sessions to assess the quality of IT services from the perspective of a wide range of faculty, staff, and students. Access to the network and network resources was a significant problem for many as was access to the support needed to use those resources. Like many large research universities, we are highly decentralized in many respects, and IT services are provided at both central and departmental levels, an aspect of assessment that was only partially explored in the assessment last summer.
The CNI Assessment Call comes at a time when UNC-CH would like to obtain additional baseline data about the effectiveness of our recent investment in instructional technology. This project will also help us devise effective strategies for ongoing assessment activities. To this end, project participants represent a range of perspectives: central and departmental, academic and staff, and library and IT.
Our first step in the assessment will be to conduct a series of interviews with students, faculty and administrators to obtain qualitative data about the network, teaching, learning, library use and help resources as outlined in part II of the manual. To buttress the interviews, we will also convene focus groups with students and faculty to obtain similar data.
Next, we will administer a survey with questions drawn from both the qualitative results of the interviews and focus groups, and from some of the survey questions in the assessment manual. There is also the possibility of evaluating the manual’s utility-grid questions from a user interface perspective as part of a user interface design course being offered on campus this Spring.
Finally, we will collect data on costs as outlined in part III of the manual. Specifically, we would like to obtain the Annual Information Technology Expenditures (AITE) for central and IT at UNC-CH and investigate collection of departmental cost information.
The assessment will focus on three areas:
- access to networked resources by faculty, staff, and students; costs of such access
- access to, effectiveness of, and cost of technology for new services for teaching and learning;
- distributed and central help desk usage within a school;
Anne Parker (PI)
Executive Director for Policy and Planning,
Information Technology Services
Prior to assuming this position last year, Anne has approximately 25 years of experience in various aspects of information technology services; primarily in an academic setting. She has been involved in several major assessment and service re-engineering projects over the past few years. She is also a student in the Ph.D. program in information science with a research interest in diffusion and infusion of innovations.
Barbara M. Wildemuth
School of Information and Library Science
Barbara’s research and teaching focuses on the adoption and use of information technologies, information-seeking behaviors and information use, and design and evaluation of information systems. For this project, she is particularly interested in the measurement issues and in the ways in which people “reinvent” educational technologies.
Janet H. Blue
Director, Information and Technology Systems
School of Nursing
Jan is responsible for implementation, ongoing maintenance and technical support of the School’s local area networks. She provides policy direction, guidance and assistance in the development of integrated, interdepartmental and School-wide databases and information systems as well as oversight in the maintenance of databases. In addition, she provides application, education and end-user support services to faculty, staff, administrators and students.
Associate University Librarian for Access Services and Systems
Academic Affairs Library
Pat is responsible for the full range of internal and external technical support, applications, and system services for the University’s central library. Prior to assuming these responsibilities several years ago, he led the University’s systems division and directed the Triangle Research Libraries Network. In these various capacities he has participated in a variety of qualitative and quantitative assessment activities.
School of Information and Library Science
Mark is a second year Master’s student enrolled in the Library Science curriculum at UNC-CH. He has experience in assessment from both his coursework, in graduate assistant positions at UNC-CH, and in his previous employment for a U.S. congressman.