STAC Addresses Students’ Information Technology Concerns

Article by Divakar Goswami
Originally published in a different format

The Student Technology Advisory Committee gives students the opportunity to contribute to the university's technology decisions. The STAC committee is composed of representatives from student government organizations (USG, CGS and IPC) and administrators such as the Chief Information Officer and the directors of OIT and UNITS. The committee maintains a strong and visible role advocating for students' technology needs and contributes high-level input to the university's decision-making.

To be competitive in today's information-based economy, Ohio State students must have access to the latest technology tools, whether in classrooms, computer labs or dorms. A key strategy of the new Academic Plan is to enhance the learning and teaching environments at Ohio State by upgrading and building technology enhanced classrooms, by increasing Web-based and distance-learning programs, and by providing improved on-campus and off-campus connectivity to the university's information resources. Since a portion of student's tuition money is going to be used for improving the technology infrastructure and services, students have a stake in defining the kinds of improvements they would like to see.

STAC is committed to addressing information technology issues that impacts students. Remote connectivity, for instance, is a priority item on STAC's agenda. Remote access to university communications and information resources is a key need in the university community. During the open forums held by STAC last year, students expressed dissatisfaction regarding HomeNet, Ohio State's dial-up connectivity service. It has been difficult to connect via HomeNet because 65,000 Internet accounts are vying for 672 modems. A prohibitively expensive solution would be to invest in more modems and telephone lines; currently, the university spends $270,591 annually on HomeNet service. A decision to invest greater resources on low bandwidth technology is complicated by the presence of new connectivity technologies like wireless, cable modem, and DSL on the market. As the Office of the CIO explores various possibilities, students could be reminded to try UNITS's new dial-up service that is reliable and fast and costs $6.95 per month. For details check the Web site.