It's been about 50 years since the first computer was put into
use at Harvard (1944), where it was primarily used in math
and science and access was extremely
limited due to cost. During this time,
educators were forced to time-share
and restrict usage to researchers and
grad students because of the expense.
Compare that with today and the impact
low cost micro-computing and personal
computers have had at home and in
the classroom. According to US Census
data, the percentage of adult computer
users rose from 54% in 1995 to nearly
80% in 2009. Even more compelling,
the percentage of adult computer users
on the Internet rose from 14% to 79%
during this same time period.
Technology infuses every aspect of our
life. From online banking to the GPS in
our car and the iPhone in our pocket,
virtually every interaction we have
involves some sort of technology. And these innovations create
new industries and new jobs which require a more highly-skilled
workforce with a greater familiarity with technology.
But what does this mean to Lone Star College System?
We want our faculty and students to have access to current
technology. Research shows that learning increases when
technology, properly applied, is used in the classroom. Biologists,
for instance, formerly depended on the microscope and dissection
to examine an organism. Today, they use a computer to visualize
and animate dynamic processes. Staff, too, need access to current
technology to be effective in their jobs, hone their technology skills
and provide Lone Star with a competitive edge in its mission to
Two years ago, our Board of Trustees
recognized the importance of having computer
equity across the campuses and approved
additional spending to achieve this. In support
of this goal, the Office of Technology Services
also adopted a system-wide annual refresh
process whereby "end-of-life" machines are
replaced with new computers. "End-of-life"
in the technology industry means that the
computer is no longer under warranty by the
manufacturer. The hard drives of these machines
are reformatted to erase all data and they are
sent to auction per state law. The replacement
machine – either a desktop or a laptop -
conforms to a standard set by OTS based on
instructional needs and cost. These machines
typically have a 3 to 4 year lifespan. It's
important to note that the cost of new computers
is only a small percentage of the total cost of
ownership. The much larger indirect expense is the increased
cost of supporting computers as they age and the impact older
machines have on employee productivity.
For the fiscal year 2010, OTS identified and budgeted to replace
2,825 computer systems. So far 1,316 systems have been
installed. The remaining 1,509 have been ordered and will be
installed before the start of the fall semester. This will maintain our
goal of 100% compliance for all production computer systems at
all campus and center locations.
This will maintain our goal of 100% compliance for all production
computer systems at all campus and center locations.