2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.4.12 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution's use of technology enhances student learning, is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs, and ensures that students have access to and training in the use of technology
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) employs technology to meet the objectives of both undergraduate and graduate training programs and to enhance student learning, and the university ensures that students have adequate training in the use of technology. Much of the technological support for the university is provided centrally by Information Resources (IR)  under the direction of the vice president for information resources and chief information officer (VPCIO) , who reports to the president. Within IR, cross-disciplinary teams provide service and support to the entire campus community, including e-learning students. One team, including the Help Desk and Academic Computing Lab staff, works primarily in support of the academic mission while Information Resources, as a whole, is responsible for faculty and staff support as well as the campus technology infrastructure and operating systems, information security, and hardware maintenance. The Information Security Office works in partnership with the various departments of Information Resources, the support components in schools and departments, as well as internal audit and business continuity planning groups, to ensure the integrity, authenticity, confidentiality and availability of computer-based data resources . The department is responsible for a wide variety of issues, including development, maintenance and review of policies and procedures, disaster recovery planning, campus security strategies including edge and internal security, malicious code detection and prevention, break-in investigations (including forensics), and public security awareness programs. The team also works to ensure awareness and compliance with local, state and federal laws.
All units within Information Resources annually assess their operations in order to improve services to students, faculty, and staff by using UT Dallas’ assessment tool, AT6. Their 2006 and 2007 annual reports are included in the supporting documents to demonstrate what the units are doing to meet their objectives and to serve the university          .Technology Backbone
UT Dallas’ information backbone consists of a 1Gbps fiber-optic backbone interconnecting buildings on the main campus and leased 1Gbps circuits connecting Callier/Dallas, Waterview Science and Tech Center, and the Center for BrainHealth®. Station cabling to desktops is via Category 5/5e/6 copper wire, mostly running at 100Mbps. UT Dallas has a wireless network overlaying the wired infrastructure operating at 802.11a/b/g frequencies. The Networking and Telecommunications team maintains the network backbone .Information Access
Access to technology resources at UT Dallas is provided to all students, staff, and faculty through the assignment of a NetID which is a code name that uniquely identifies the individual to the UT Dallas computer systems. Incoming students receive their NetIDs when they apply to the university, and students, faculty, and staff can manage their accounts and download virtual private network software, McAfee virus protection for UT Dallas and home computers, and Respondus (a WebCT/Blackboard assessment tool for faculty, staff, and student workers) . Individuals also use the NetID and accompanying password to access UT Dallas campus computer resources, including e-mail, various campus web servers, and UNIX servers. Using the NetID, members of the UT Dallas community can login to Galaxy, an intranet portal that provides a customizable entry point to access a variety of services .
Through Galaxy, students are able to monitor and manage their personal information, to register, to drop and add classes, to see their class schedule and registration status, to view their grades, to complete degree audits, to print unofficial transcripts, and to access financial aid information . In addition, Galaxy provides access to student e-mail accounts and information such as syllabi, assignments, and readings that faculty post within WebCT for specific courses. Galaxy also serves as a way for the university to distribute information to students electronically and for students to link to other electronic services .
UT Dallas provides each student free access to the Internet and a free e-mail account. Information Resources provides students a way to forward e-mail from other accounts to their UT Dallas address as well as sending UT Dallas mail to other e-mail accounts . Students have 50 mb of space allotted to them for data storage. This space can also be used for student UT Dallas webpages. The university provides a complete tutorial for students to help them in creating their own web presence .Student Computing
Students have access to a number of general purpose micro-computing labs managed by Information Resources. These labs contain Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX machines along with laser printing capabilities and dedicated multimedia hardware . Each machine is loaded with a standard suite of software that includes word processing, relational databases, mathematical and statistical analysis and internet browsers . Academic units operate specialty labs. The School of Management has a 100 station Windows lab used for student training, instruction, and research. The lab contains specialty software applications relating to finance and accounting. The Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science maintains a 150 station Windows lab exclusively for their students. The Arts and Technology program has 75 Windows and Macintosh computers in its lab, and the machines are dedicated to graphic design, 3D animation, web publishing, video editing, and other technical areas within the Arts and Technology curriculum. The Green Computing facility is operated by the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences and consists of two teaching labs and a research lab. Each teaching lab houses 25 workstations plus an instructor workstation with projection facilities. One lab focuses on the support of classes in GIS (geographic information systems), and the other focuses on statistical analysis in the social and behavioral sciences. Additional information about academic computing programs can be found in the responses to Principles 2.9 , 3.8.2 , 3.8.3 , and 3.8.1 .IR Help Desk
The Information Resources Help Desk is the doorway to computing assistance on campus . The UT Dallas Help Desk takes requests for help via e-mail, telephone, and online chat services. This service helps students , staff, and faculty  to create and manage their computer accounts and provide answers to common computing issues. They also serve as consultants regarding installation, maintenance, repair, and purchase of computing systems. The Help Desk also works closely with the UT Dallas Technology Store to ensure that students and faculty are able to purchase competitively priced hardware and software that are compatible with and supported by campus information technology .Other Technology
The training and research mission of the university provides extensive technology training for students. The Engineering and Computer Science Building provides numerous facilities for research in microelectronics, telecommunications, and computer science. A Class 1000 microelectronics cleanroom research laboratory, including e-beam lithography, sputter deposition, PECVD, LPCVD, etch, ash and evaporation, spectroscopic ellipsometry, rapid thermal annealing capability, dual column Focused Ion Beam, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is available for student projects and research. An electron beam lithography pattern generator capable of sub-micron resolution is also available for microelectronics research . The Arts and Technology Building houses one of the most sophisticated motion capture laboratories in the nation. The laboratory is a large television studio (40 feet square) with sixteen cameras mounted on the walls surrounding a performance space. The cameras project a strobe of light at more than 222 times per second, then “captures” the light as it bounces off a series of reflectors worn by the subject in the performance space. At least three cameras must capture light simultaneously from each reflector. This information is transmitted in digital form to computers in a control room. The computers then create related “motion paths” that can be converted into an accurate three-dimensional portrayal of the movement that has taken place . The recently completed Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Laboratory Building (NSERL) provides state-of-the-art equipment in support of extensive ongoing research programs across a number of disciplines . Primarily faculty and graduate assistants access these facilities, but some principal investigators also use undergraduate students in their research programs.
The university continues to upgrade classrooms as “smart classrooms” as academic programs request the renovation and as funds are available. New construction of buildings includes upgraded lecture rooms and equipment as a routine matter, as evidenced by the planning for the new Math and Science Education Building which continues toward construction within FY 2008 .McDermott Library
The McDermott Library prides itself on the services provided by the staff and the collections available both in print and online . The library takes full advantage of electronic technology to provide a broad range of online resources selected to support the university’s research and teaching missions . In 2006, the McDermott Library’s collection of electronic journals was 27,418  and has grown to over 30,000 ; the library also owns 364,380 electronic books and through the web offers faculty and students access to many more .
The McDermott Library staff maintains the library’s databases, servers, computers, and laptops and provides technical support for all computer equipment owned by the library. They manage five windows servers, three UNIX servers, and maintain the proxy server for all of the library’s remote access. They also manage approximately 200 computer workstations and 48 laptops that circulate. The Library’s Information Technology Services for library personnel is responsible for maintaining a database to track troubleshooting, training issues, and maintenance updates.
The Library Instruction Room is used by the Information Literacy and Instruction Program to offer library instruction sessions. There students, faculty, and staff can learn to use the library’s resources for their research needs. The room is also used by library staff for visits by vendors to view demonstrations of their products and resources. It is also used by the librarians for training sessions and webinars. The librarians use NetOp software which controls the keyboard and mouse of each of the 48 laptops in the room. An ELO screen, laser pointer, and media equipment is also available in the podium for the librarians to use to enhance the learning experience.
The Accessibility Office houses adaptive technology for use by visually impaired UT Dallas students, faculty, and staff. The hardware includes a computer, Optelec ClearView 700, Braille Blazer printer, and a scanner. Software includes Open Book, Jaws, Magic, Duxbury for Windows, and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Library staff began adding copyrighted material to the electronic reserves (e-reserves) in 2004, and use Docutek’s ERes software which requires students attempting to access such copyrighted materials to login to verify that they are properly authenticated .Student Training
As an institution with a strong focus on science and technology, virtually all of the UT Dallas students come to campus with substantial experience in general computer applications and electronic information retrieval. Much of UT Dallas’ training focuses on educating students as to the variety of technological services available on campus and how they can be accessed. As a part of every freshman orientation, incoming students receive training on establishing campus computer accounts, e-mail and web authoring services, and safety and security issues related to information technology. RHET 1302 , the required first-year writing requirement course, is taught in computer-based classrooms that house iMacs as well as the latest in audio-visual technology. Rhetoric instructors use this technology as a tool to facilitate student learning in small classes (15 to 20 students) to provide individualized attention . As previously mentioned, the McDermott Library’s Information Literacy program provides students with assistance in using information technology to develop library research skills. Instruction is offered in one-on-one sessions, through library tours, or formal class presentations . The Information Resources Help Desk provides students with a wide range of online documentation support and troubleshooting services  and Computer Aides (student employees) in the open computer labs. Finally, most technology training is embedded in classes that constitute the student’s degree requirements.
For example, in the graduate courses in the School of Management, basic computer skills are assumed, but faculty members offer some basic review of the use of advanced software as sample problems require. AIM 6384, as an example, holds some class meetings in a computer lab “for hands-on audit software training .” Similarly, in ECS 3390 and ECS 5301 (Professional and Technical Communication) in the class meetings preceding the team presentations, faculty members review the use of visual aids effectively and demonstrate the use of the smart classroom technology, including a document projector, the ceiling-mounted projector, and demonstration software such as PowerPoint . In all Arts and Technology lab-based courses, faculty members provide instruction in the software and specialized equipment as assignments dictate.
Additional online support materials provide students (and faculty) documentation for the use of e-learning tools such as Blackboard and WebCT , . In the School of Management, the Global Online MBA and the Global Executive MBA programs provide online materials to support students in the use of the tools . Similarly, Information Resources provides online materials to support student queries regarding WebCT, and IR e-learning staff respond to all calls from the IR Help Desk related to WebCT. The University of Texas System Telecampus also provides 24x7 support and online documentation .
Because many of UT Dallas’ academic programs rely heavily on technology, ranging from the simplest forms with e-mail to the most advanced in cleanroom and other research-oriented laboratories, the majority of students respond affirmatively to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) question stems regarding technology. Over the last four years, freshmen have reported using some electronic medium to discuss or complete an assignment often or very often at rates between 55% and 65%; seniors reported to the same stem at rates between 48% and 70%. E-mail communication between freshmen and their faculty members rates “often” or “very often” at rates between 53% and 60%; for seniors, the rates run between 55% and 77%. Freshmen report using computers in their academic work “quite a bit” or “very much” at rates between 80% and 92%; for seniors, the response rates run between 76% and 88% .