Higher Education IT


I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write this particular post.  I have started and stopped it several times.

As of August 1, I’ll be the Chief Information Office at Menlo College.  It has been a serious up and down last 5 weeks – leaving Santa Clara Law has been and will be difficult, especially because I feel that Law Technology is on the brink of some great work.  And the uncertainty that comes with any job change is very present.

My goal for a long time and from the day I started at Santa Clara was to move up to an executive-level position at another college, then move onto bigger and bigger schools from there.  The environment is a great one, too, with great people and a president that wants a partner to guide the school over the next 4-5 years (or so).  For a small school, the degree of trust the president wants to be able to put in me (I, of course, have to earn it) is critically important.  The staff also seem to really want to focus on getting stuff done, improving business processes, looking at systems that improve efficiency, etc.

I am really excited to move onto this part of my career.  And I hope that this blog will continue to have positive entries…

supporting early adopters, or punishing those that go off the reservation?

A combination of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) “movement” and the rise of widely-used, highly-effective third party communication systems (eg – Gmail over whatever your company/institution is using) has created what I see as a conflict about whether to support people that you’d call either early adopters or ones that have gone off on his or her own and away from standardized systems.

First, some general definitions and stuff.  BYOD has arisen mostly because incredibly powerful computing devices have hit the mainstream.  Tons of people have smart phones (though the actual % is lower than you might think – recent surveys indicate that a solid 30-40% of cell phone users have, at most, “feature” phones with keyboards or some other extra feature for faster texting, but no web browsing or anything like that.  Many others just have flip phones for regular calling).  Lots of people have tablets.  And laptop ownership went past 75% a long time ago.  So with all of these devices already in our pockets and bags, we have to start considering the ramifications of so much computing and productivity power being brought to our campuses and work places, rather than being provided by.  A computer lab might need to be only half the size of just 2 years ago, with empty desk space being far more useful for students and their own laptops, etc.

Even though AOL first offered its own e-mail system a very, very long time ago (I was on AOL starting in 1994-1995, and I remember it had not yet purchased Compuserv), the massive shift to yahoo and google for personal e-mail also causes an issue.  In the same way that we have to consider that users have their own devices which they prefer to use over the ones we provide, we must also be aware that one’s well-established gmail account might supersede the benefits of an organizational e-mail system (or calendar system, or chat system, etc).  Yes, for work purposes there is the issue of separating official from personal e-mail but the lines get more and more blurred, even for employees, as adoption of these other tools gets higher and higher.  Investment into one’s personal gmail account gets so high that his or her identity is based on that account, not the name.edu or company.com one.

We have faculty at Santa Clara Law – people who are scholars associated with an academic institution – who use their gmail accounts with gmail.com suffixes over their scu.edu accounts.  I recently worked with a few marketing folks that asked me to contact them on their yahoo and gmail accounts instead of their company ones, because it was faster (and easier to get to one their phones, etc).

A lot of the two movements go hand-in-hand.  Because it’s so easy to connect an Android phone or iPhone to gmail, people prefer to have that account when “on the go.”  As they are more and more mobile, more of their e-mail goes to those “non-sanctioned” accounts.  As more goes there, less goes to the official one.  And so on.

As we look towards a shift to a new e-mail and calendaring (and collaboration) toolset at Santa Clara University, those faculty that switched over to gmail will in fact be left “out in the cold.”  They are using the “commercial” version of gmail, and we’ll be using the “educational” version of either Google or Microsoft’s cloud-based solutions.  Even if we go with Google, there is no migration option from a personal, commercial account to an institutional, Apps for Education one.

So…in a way, we are punishing those that adopted these highly-productive tools (gmail, gchat, etc), potentially a side-effect of early adoption of highly-capable devices (smartphones, tablets).  We are penalizing early-adopters.

Yet we rely on early adopters to push the envelope, to ask the questions that those only one standard-deviation away from the mean have not yet considered, and to help motivate and inspire us to do more and be more creative.

How do we resolve this conflict?  Do we create an environment that encourages early adoption?  Many times it is these individuals that help instructional technologists (or just plain technologists) try new things and work out the bugs.  But what happens when we switch to a standard that leaves them out in the cold?  What safety nets do we provide?  If none, then do we risk fragmentation (aside from dissatisfaction, of course)?

to the polygon!

As part of “Project 2012,” the team established an explicit expectation that we all operated as a unified team, and that we were all accountable and dependent on each other.  This may seem like something every team should have, but the point was to explicitly state – and collectively agree – that we would operate in this manner from now on, and to acknowledge that team success depended on team cohesion.

Rather than a traditional org chart of any kind – even a very flat one of manager (me) and then the rest of the staff reporting up – we are formed more in the shape of a 7-sided polygon.  Not only is each point connected to a neighboring point, but also to everyone other point.  It’s like a 7-point web, really (but a polygon is easier to visualize when I’m describing it to others).  We are all the same level.  Each position is empowered to act individually to the benefit of the team.  Each position has internal and external responsibilities.  The Classrooms and Media Production Manager, for instance, has the internal operational responsibilities of updating our classrooms, the internal programmatic responsibility of researching new educational technology that can be used by faculty in those rooms, and the external responsibility to interface with university Media Services.  Law Tech is dependent on the Classrooms Manager to keep up with Media Services such that we are effectively never surprised.  The Classrooms Manager is dependent on Law Tech to support efforts made while collaborating with Media Services, provide input, etc.

The polygon is actually also a great management tool.  It may seem that the team is decentralized but, because the dependencies are emphasized so heavily, one can never go too far without running into a checkpoint with another team member.  One can have an idea about a classroom technology, talk to other schools that have used it, and talk to the manufacturer.  But once a reseller is contacted, a dependency on the budget manager (me) comes into play.  Even before that, dependencies on Operations to make sure the new technology will fit our overall maintenance system or on the Help Desk to make sure the technology can be supported arise.  Each person on the other end – me as budget manager, Operations for maintenance and Help Desk for support – depends on the Classrooms Manager to check in with us at the appropriate points.  Failure to do so is letting us down.

In an ideal world, the polygon empowers individuals, improves communications, and leads to overall team improvements in creativity, collaboration, and performance.  At the least, it allows me to expect more from the team (and myself – this isn’t always easy for me to navigate, either) and react to deviations from the polygon approach as appropriate.  So I’m not giving up all responsibility – far from it.  I am asking each team member to step up (and of course I am putting myself in the mix at the exact same level, which I think is a good part of a team-based operation).

As today is my first back from paternity leave, having put in the polygon – at least conceptually – proved to be very comforting as I shifted all of my attention to my family.  I knew things would not go perfectly (and truth be told I’m still sifting through stuff now) but I also knew that, when in doubt, the team could “go to the polygon” and ask more of each other, and have more asked of them.

We’ll see how the next few weeks go as I switch back to a more regular schedule.


orchids and weeds. not your normal garden.

A number of years ago (7?), a colleague of mine at Stanford – Carlos Seligo – introduced the concept of “Orchids and Weeds.”  He meant it jokingly at the time, but it has stuck with me ever since.

Basically, there are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to technology, support, and adoption.  There are orchids, which are elegant, beautiful and perfectly aligned with needs but require an incredible amount of attention and resources to get running and properly supported.  It is unlikely that support will become more efficient over time.  Weeds, on the other hand, spring up organically and often as ancillary to something else.  They germinate quickly and soon adoption is very high and usage has proliferated.  Weeds might even be used in ways never originally intended.

An example of an orchid might be the Sakai Learning Management System, which has been developed by universities, for universities, but is quite a beast to implement and manage.  Perhaps even some of the major Microsoft products – Sharepoint comes to mind – would be orchids, too.  They can be ridiculously powerful if done right, but needs a lot of resources to get there.  The two “big” weeds would be e-mail and SMS text messaging. SMS is in particular is a great example.  Originally designed so that cell company employees could report coverage outages and other problems, it has become the primary way for many people to communicate (I send about 2000 texts a month and yet use fewer than 400 minutes).

It is important to note that there is nothing inherently bad about an orchid.  By definition, it is beautiful, elegant, and a perfect solution for the job.  It offers very high value and probably commands a high price (the amount of effort users are willing to expend to access the service).  But the cost is also extremely high.  So the overall value-cost gap (or V-C “wedge” as we’d say in my Capstone MBA course) is smaller than, say, text messaging.

But if the fundamental basis for maintaining a service portfolio is value, orchids are just fine.  You just have to pick and choose the right ones.  And that means a strong rubric for getting rid of the useless orchids (just pretty, but not the right fit) from the truly wonderful ones.

Basing services on value provision is pretty simple.  Well, actual “value” is hard to quantify, even in the business world where there is a number for everything.  But if you start with price – again, the expense of time/effort/distance traveled/hoops jumped through/etc that a user is willing to take on in order to use the service – then you can get an idea of value.  Value is always the same or higher than price (unless you have one seriously messed up measurement system).  If you put something somewhere (physical location of a high-end lab, a web service behind so many clicks of the mouse, etc) and people are still rushing in droves to use it, then the price is probably quite a bit lower than value.  Whether the price is too low is unclear, but it’s not like you’re going to disassemble that lab and move it farther away from the dorms or put even more clicks in front of the web service.  Bottom line – value is high, and it can be gauged if not measured exactly.

So once you have that, you just roll out services that are high value or high V-C.  The value could be high in an absolute sense, in which case cost is not an issue (striking a deal with a cloud-based backup company where the student pays and you get all the kudos but none of the liability).  Or it could be high in a relative sense (buying a bigger SAN for $75000 to do multiple redundant backups of faculty and staff data, on-site, in exchange for peace of mind to those users.  cost and value are high).  But if something is low in value, just don’t bother with it.  Because if it’s not of value to anyone, why are you wasting resources on it?  Worst case scenario, cost is HIGHER than value, and you’re just burning resources for nothing.

Ideally, you go low cast and high value – look for weeds.  Get as many of these as you can because they require low overhead but adoption will be high.  I’m not sure people will “value” it the same way they would with other things but they will surely use the service.  Align your staff to take advantage of these.  Have fewer staff managing more weeds – the ratio will be different.

Then go looking for orchids.  You will probably need project management staff just to test them, then a much lower staff:service ratio to maintain them.  But if you figure out the right potential orchids during testing, then deploy the best 2-5 or so and it’ll be worth it.


not reinventing the beeping noise

  • On our 2008 Honda CR-V, we have different beeping, alarm tones for leaving the key in ignition, headlights on, and parking brake on.  3 different tones.
  • On our 2005 Mazda 3, we have a single tone that is used for both the keys and lights.  No parking brake.
  • Of all cars, the 2004 Jeep Wrangler – bare bones vehicle, zip-up windows, etc – had a single warning signal for the lights, keys, and brake.

How is it possible that that three different cars utilize different methods for the simple task of notifying a driver that he or she has forgotten to do something, or left something behind?  The ones that are most similar – the Honda and the Jeep, are almost as far apart as possible in terms of types of car (well, if it was an Acura or something that would be farther…).  And somehow the Mazda can’t even bother with all three tones.  The features of the Jeep – a car WITH NO WINDOWS – are more user-friendly than those on our Mazda.

It’s not as if the beeping sound for the brake was first invented by Jeep, musth less copyrighted (which would be required in this scenario, since the Jeep is older than the Mazda).  Nor the idea of different tones being used in the Honda.  And it can’t possibly cost much in terms of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), which affects margin, for there to be either three tones or three different tones.

If I had to fill out a form right now asking for features I’d like in a car, having tones (same tone okay, since I can never remember which tone is for which problem) for all of those items would be on that list.  These simple things.  Just take the simple things that others have done, and make sure that you have at least those same things.  Then innovate from there.

How is this at all relevant?  Simple – if you’re running a Help Desk, get the basics of support, time to resolution, quality of customer service, etc , to the standard that others schools with roughly the same resources and limitations have achieved.  If you have a small server farm – or a giant data center – look at what others have done and just flat out copy the best of breed basics.  I don’t mean the whole kit-and-kaboodle.  I don’t mean just copy every last detail.  But there have to be common denominators that have sound solutions, proven over time, that are easily replicated.

Just as Mazda should not spend much time deciding whether or not to put in 3 bells – which can, I think, be concluded is a better solution than just 2 bells – why not just start off with 3, and spend more time deciding if an auxiliary audio input should be put in or not? Or, a year later, when all Mazda 3’s had those inputs because basically all cars had them, how about making the front console more user-friendly or improving something else?  Innovating beyond the basics.

I’ll admit that we are not doing as good of a job at this as I’d like.  And hopefully as we’d like, either.  But once we can get everything to a baseline standard – and it is definitely feasible – then we can start to really mix things up.  Think of new things and build up an overall structure that is above and beyond.

So let’s get started on the foundation.

low on resources – what to do?

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of dollars per capita re: resource shortages rather than simply number of staff or absolute budget.  This may be something that all IT leaders have already discovered on their own, but to me, divorcing myself from thinking in terms of absolute budget (well, of course Santa Clara has a smaller budget than Stanford or a huge state school) or number of staff and thinking in relative terms really helped open my eyes.  Basically, the real issue at the university or even project level is how much funding is available per user/customer/student/etc.  It’s not about an absolute budget.  $10,000 for 1 customer is enough to buy a whole dedicated server plus a decent bit of enterprise software.  But the same budget for an entire project meant to serve 1000 students means sapping staff time and other resources from other projects and initiatives.  That actually provides poor DPC for the one project, and decreases DPC for the other one(s).

Of course, low DPC is a problem that plagues many organization, especially higher education.  Let’s face it – many corporate IT departments, for all their notoriety for being somewhat “faceless,” would still laugh at higher ed budgets in relation to goals.  When a for-profit company decides to do X, and doing so requires $Y, then they find the money (or they cease to exist as a company, I suppose).  That’s not the case in higher ed.  So how do we address low DPC?   (more…)

just big enough to falter

At first, this post started out as commentary about the challenges that schools of about the same size as Santa Clara University face re: technology, infrastructure, and other needs in relation to the available resources.  That, in turn, would lead to some discussion on how to best address such opposing forces.  This was fundamentally about how Santa Clara was just big enough to need enterprise-level services but not quite big enough to have the staff to maintain such systems, especially over time.

However, I found myself having a terrible time writing because I eventually realized that this isn’t about the size of school.  Whether your institution is a research or small liberal arts one, state or private, funded primarily by endowment or tuition, what fundamentally matters is operational dollars per capita. (DPC)

In other words – for any one (relatively large) project, the issue of size vs. resources is about how much money is available per student/faculty/staff/overall user group.

On the one hand, this sounds really obvious.  Sure, if one has less dollars, then it must be less dollars per person.  But if the project is small with, say, 100 users, then it’s possible that even a small school could get a research grant that yields high DPC.  Which means resources are likely going to be sufficient.  Also, universities of roughly the same size could have wildly different ratios, leading to completely different environments.  Santa Clara University and Stanford, for instance, differ by only 1000 or so undergraduates (SCU being about 5400, Stanford 6500).  Yet Stanford’s huge endowment, research funding, plus incoming tuition make for a much higher DPC figure, on average, than is the case at SCU.

Both SCU and Stanford are “big enough” to need a large scale ERP like Peoplesoft.  Stanford has probably 25 systems administrators in their overall group, not counting the database administrators and storage administrators that help round out the PS operations.  SCU has far fewer.  Peoplesoft itself is scalable – there is likely little difference between managing 5500 students and 2000 or so faculty and staff at SCU vs. 6500 students at 8000 faculty and staff at Stanford, in terms of the software.  But management is not scaleable in the same way.  It might take 10 admins – systems, database, and storage – plus a handful of others (security, data center managers, etc) just to get PS up and running.  At Stanford, because of a much higher DPC figure, will always have that number available, plus more to make the process more and more efficient.  SCU might have just barely that number of staff to begin with and once other projects are considered then, in reality, staffing is insufficient.

Dollars per capita.  That is the problem, and the “resource shortages” that it produces in institutions with low DPC go much further than simply having enough staff for a particular project.  The shortages in one department lead to decisions to cut back here, eliminate a service there, etc, that another department (perhaps one in the same overall organization) actually needs for its constituents.  So now low DPC has created a spiraling, self-reinforcing interdependency of inadequacy that is no one’s fault, but must be arrested at some point.

Case in point:

  1. Novell Groupwise e-mail system is managed by Networking and Telecommunications Group BU
  2. due to staff shortages, NTG has decided that the feature that allows standard ActiveSync connectivity (Mobility Pack) for devices will not be installed.
  3. Service Center BU has identified that providing connectivity for devices such as iPhones and Android phones is a needed part of their portfolio
  4. The devices support ActiveSync natively, but of course Groupwise does not.  Service Center BU has to purchase and manage a third-party product that acts as middleware and is close to but not quite perfect ActiveSync functionality.

The result:  most features work on iOS, Android is hit or miss if it’s anything other than stock, original versions of applications (AOSP), and on both users find certain features missing, or mishandling of events or contact details.  I personally have had to basically hack both of the Android phones I’ve had so far in order to get them to work (even though the first one I had is specifically mentioned on the third-party vendor’s site as being “certified”).  One of my staff that uses an iPhone who eagerly agreed to be the iOS support person has learned that there are, in fact, a few quirks that he has to help users with.

In this case, because of DPC being low for both groups, neither is able to take advantage of scalability or other options and work together to provide an identified, needed service via tools that are actually already built into Groupwise.

Let me make this disclaimer now – this is not a criticism of SCU Central IT.  It is indeed very tempting to point fingers when I have a faculty member doing just that at me because the mail app on the iPhone isn’t working “as expected” or because that professor cannot buy that Android phone he or she wants because it is not compatible.  But I don’t think it is right to blame either group, or anyone in those groups, in Central IT.

Santa Clara University needs an enterprise-level e-mail system.  It also has users in its community that need connectivity via a variety of mobile devices, smart phones, etc.  SCU is big enough to need both of these services.  But the dollars devoted per user (in this case those that need mobile device access to the e-mail and calendaring system) is not nearly enough to provide an effective solution, even when two different groups are working on the same problem.
The question, therefore, is whether there is any “hope” in such a situation.  Whether a school such as this is destined to slide further and further down the hole of decreasing resources in the face of increasing demands, or whether something can be done about it.
This post has gone long enough in setting the stage and asking the questions, I hope.  Next comes some ideas on what to do next.

a platform for accountability

As I have been considering various changes in my approach to management, leadership, and IT in higher ed, I am reminded of the importance of accountability.  This is one of the most important parts of a successful team – it is part of the foundation upon which productivity and teamwork rests.  In fact, it is part of a critically important cycle that is self-reinforcing – each phase of the cycle helps strengthen the continuation of that process.  Accountability begets ownership.  Ownership leads to a sense of responsibility.  Feeling responsible results in a greater understanding of accountability.  And the cycle continues.

Accountability must be pervasive, as well.  It cannot be just to one’s supervisor or manager that one is accountable for his or her activities and performance.  Peers must feel that they are part of the success of each of their colleagues and the team in general.  Conversely, not only should managers be able to hold staff accountable, but peers should have the ability to “call out” those that are not helping meet overall expectations.

The thing about accountability as a departmental, top-bottom, bottom-top, side-side trait is that nothing is explicitly confrontational.  Even the most severe conversation becomes about team and goals, rather than personal slight.  Instead of “you are messing up my ability to get my job done,” one can say “we must rely on each other to get this project done to achieve a common, team goal.”  I realize, of course, that we do not live in a utopia and that the former statement will still occur even in the most collaborative of environments now and then.  The point is that co-dependency can become the foundation for discussion in a system that relies on accountability and shared ownership.

The question, therefore, is how to build what I call a “platform” for accountability.  Much in the way that Windows or Facebook is a platform for development of software, accountability can be the foundation upon which projects and communication is constructed.   (more…)

managerial crossroads

I find myself at a strange intersection in my professional career.

On the one hand, I have prided myself on “doing more with less” in terms of what our department has accomplished with a significantly smaller budget than comparable groups on campus (to be clear – the “more with less” motto that is often used when budgets get tight or staff are laid off is one which I am firmly against and perhaps abhor as a managerial method.  We can work on getting every last drop of productivity out of our resources, but we can never do more than 100% of capacity, and we should never ask our staff to even try).

On the other, I find myself saying bold things that I have yet to back up with my own actions.  For instance, of late I have spent much time thinking about the future of IT in higher education.  This has been stewing in my head for some time now but Theresa Rowe‘s opening plenary at the SIGUCSS Management Symposium in San Diego really crystalized things.  We simply cannot keep doing things the way we always have been.  Maintaining the status quo – including the thus far incremental improvements to our systems and services – is not sustainable.  We must radically reassess our service portfolios and even reconsider whether we have the right job descriptions – much less the right people – to meet student, staff, and faculty needs going into the next decade or more.  Are we structurally sound and prepared to meet the challenges of delivering Google and Facebook-like services and innovation on the budgets that we have?  Can we really keep trying to achieve enterprise-level performance on budgets that corporate IT departments would laugh at?  I have long asserted that we have to make tough decisions and invest in those services that give back the highest value, not just the ones we “have always done.”  Rowe gave an even clearer and more comprehensive analysis ranging from technology trends to HR to management to budgeting.

Yet…have I done this in my own job thus far?  Have I actually led my staff in the charge to reduce our service portfolio to offer only high value services?  How do I even know the value level of our current services such that I can make an assessment?

I have spent the last 4 years building up the reputation of Law Technology and Academic Computing at Santa Clara Law School.  We are not perfect and many people know that.  But few point to those deficiencies as symptoms of a dysfunctional department.  There is a faith in our department – and the effort that we put into each of our duties – that has become the fundation of our role at the school.  I am extremely proud of where we are compared to when I arrived.  It’s been a combination of marketing, professional development, management, hopefully some leadership and definitely some changes in personnel.  But it’s real.

And it’s time to take advantage of it.

2012 will be our “crash” year.  This will be when we take all of this goodwill and faith in our department, bank on it and make the potentially radical changes that address the changing needs of academia.  I am convinced that, in the long run, all of our changes will make people happy.  I am also certain that in the short run several people will be upset by the removal or alternation of some services.  But during 2012, we will assess where we are, decide in what we will invest, identify what we must cut in order to achieve those goals (and things will be cut – I will not allow our portfolio to just increase without change elsewhere), and make significant changes.  We will use personal interactions, school and university-wide marketing, a bit of political maneuvering and I’m sure some apologies.  But this will be the year.

January 3 is when we return to work.  I’m sure you’ll hear from me by the end of that week…

what to do when students don’t want to learn

The strangest thing happened to me the other day while helping train some students on a collaboration suite we have at work.  The professor had already explained that students would be working in teams, with their laptops, to develop the beginnings of a legal outline.  They would use the software/hardware solution – powered by Tidebreak’s Teamspot software – to interact with the shared document.  Hopefully, the students would discover greater productivity and learn more about how to develop the outline through this collaborative effort.

That’s all and good.  It’s to be expected and the professor had a really great and open mind about how to use the suite that night, possible uses in the future, and ideas for best practices.  What was not expected was students asking me this:

“Do I have to take part in this project?”


“I downloaded the software.  Now I’m trying to decide if I want to install it.”

My basic response to these comments was along the lines of “well, it’s for a class assignment, and I believe the professor wants all of you to work as a team, with your laptops, on the shared display.”

This did not produce much of a response.  In fact, one of the students showed a rather blatant disdain towards me and commented on how she was willing to install the software only because she was using a Mac.  She would not have done so with a Windows machine.  Clearly implying that for some reason I would be recommending the installation of software that was either going to compromise her computer or, even worse, was malware to begin with.

This honestly baffled me.  On the surface, I couldn’t believe that students would question whether they should take part in a class assignment, as requested by the professor.  Even if it’s a situation and/or environment with which they are unfamiliar – this is the professor asking them to do an assignment that is, ostensibly, critical to their education (are assignments ever not critical to your education, really?).  And while a bit of caution when installing software is always prudent, why would someone think that I, an assistant dean, would be asking them to install malicious software?

We in Educational Technology are in the business of improving the teaching and learning of our respective fields (or, perhaps, to challenge existing paradigms that have generally governed those methods).  Most of the time, we seek out innovative technologies but, more importantly, act as consultants and work with faculty to find a tool – whether new or old, cutting-edge or somewhat banal – that will help them in their tasks.  We are here to help improve things.  We are not here to cause problems, to decrease productivity or success potential.  We are certainly not here to put viruses on your computers.

I’ll admit that when I introduce myself I was sufficiently befuddled that I sounded 100% geek.  I didn’t get into how part of my department’s charge is to introduce innovative technologies and methods to faculty.  I sounded like a robot.  A nervous, very geeky robot.  But that’s not the point.

If I’m there, it’s because the faculty member has agreed that there is potential for benefit and/or improvement to teaching and learning.  If I am asking you about your progress with some technology, it’s because I want to see how far along you are in getting set up to use that technology to improve your classroom experience.

Netgen, Gen X, part-time, full-time – whatever student category you fall into – understand this.  The faculty, the staff, and certainly my department are there to help.  It is to your benefit to let us do that.