Refresh of Computers/Mediated Classroom Equipment

Let's Prepare for Tomorrow

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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 serve students.

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.