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Critical Factors for Ubiquitous Computing. Karen Petitto Instructional Technology Specialist, Asst. Professor of Educational Technology West Virginia Wesleyan College Stephen G. Landry Chief Information Officer , Seton Hall University John L. Oberlin

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critical factors for ubiquitous computing
Critical Factors for Ubiquitous Computing
  • Karen Petitto
    • Instructional Technology Specialist, Asst. Professor of Educational Technology

West Virginia Wesleyan College

  • Stephen G. Landry
    • Chief Information Officer,
  • Seton Hall University
  • John L. Oberlin
    • Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

what is ubiquitous computing
What Is Ubiquitous Computing?

Stephen G. Landry

Chief Information


Seton Hall University


What is Ubiquitous Computing?

  • Ubiquitous Computing refers to programs aimed at making a computer available to all members of a learning community.
    • Goal: To ensure everyone in the community has accessto necessary learning materials, many of which are computer or network based.
    • As a practical matter, these programs usually involve ensuring that all students have some form of laptop computer and access to the Internet
what is ubiquitous computing cont
What is Ubiquitous Computing? (cont.)
  • There is no single ubiquitous computing program that meets all needs or situations.
  • Variables to consider include:
    • Student Owned vs. Institution Owned
    • Uniform Hardware vs. Minimum Requirements
    • Fixed Replacement Cycle vs. Variable Replacement Cycle
Student Owned vs. Institution OwnedUniform Hardware vs. Minimum RequirementsFixed vs. Variable Replacement Cycle
  • How institutions choose among these options will depend on institutional practice and culture
    • Public vs. Private
    • Large vs. Small
    • Research vs. Liberal Arts
    • Elite vs. Non-Elite
institutional practice and culture
Institutional Practice and Culture
  • Large Public Institutions:
    • Often have complex regulations regarding hardware acquisition, and so may focus on student ownership.
  • Small Private Institutions:
    • Non-Elite Private Institutions: May adopt the model of institutional ownership in the hope of gaining a competitive advantage
    • Elite Private Institutions: May assume most students own computers and therefore adopt an ownership requirement (e.g., 90% of incoming Dartmouth students report having a computer that meets their minimum requirements)
models of ubiquitous computing
Models of Ubiquitous Computing
  • Institutional Ownership / Uniform Hardware
    • E.g., Wake Forest University
      • Standard Hardware / Replaced Every Two Years
      • Financed through tuition and fees
        • Required fees can be included in computation of state and federal financial aid.
        • Institutional financial aid pool often increased to ameliorate added financial burden
      • High degree of uniformity eases technical support and curriculum development
models of ubiquitous computing cont
Models of Ubiquitous Computing (cont.)
  • Student Ownership / Minimum Specification
    • E.g., Sonoma State University (Sonoma, CA)
      • Institution specifies minimum hardware requirements
      • Students are required to purchase a computer that meets institution’s specifications
      • Institution may recommend models and/or negotiate institutional pricing
      • Institution may offer financing
      • Institutions often outsource laptop repair and support
      • Replacement / Upgrades at discretion of student
but we have computer labs
But we have computer labs …
  • Computer Labs have a number of limitations
    • Limited Access: Studies show commuter students average fours hours a week on campus outside of class
    • Lack of Convenience: Students must conform the way they study to lab hours and regulations
    • Depersonalization: Students are unable to personalize lab computers. Students cannot adapt the computer to make their common tasks more convenient or trust the computer will be in the same state when they return.
but we have computer labs cont
But we have computer labs …(cont.)
  • How and where do YOU like to work?
    • In your office? At home? On the road?
    • At 1:00 AM? At 6:00 AM?
    • Do you like convenient access to your reference materials? Books? Articles? Library materials?
    • Do you like to have coffee or a soft drink while you work? Do you like to listen to music?
    • Do you like to walk away from the computer for an hour or two and pick up right where you left off?
  • If computer labs are so great, why do we typically provide faculty and administrators with individual computers?
but desktop computers provide more bang for the buck
But desktop computers provide more bang for the buck…
  • Do they really?
    • What value do you put on mobility?
    • Do your students typically study in one place?
      • Their dorm room? Their home? Their parents’ home? Their friends room? The library? Classrooms? The cafeteria?
      • MAYBE ALL OF THE ABOVE? Are your students “academic nomads”, traveling around the campus and its environs with their possessions in their backpacks?
    • What about wireless networks?
mobile computing at seton hall university
Mobile Computing at Seton Hall University
  • Seton Hall University’s Mobile Computing Program is an innovative academic program involving three components:
    • Access: The University licenses the use of a laptop computer to all undergraduates as part of their tuition and fees
    • Curricular Integration: The University provides support and incentives to faculty to use technology in innovative ways to enhance teaching and learning
    • Network and Support Services: The University provides the infrastructure and support services that enable the effective use of technology in teaching and learning
mobile computing at seton hall cont
Mobile Computing at Seton Hall (cont.)
  • Current Model: IBM ThinkPad i-series computer
    • 700Mhz Celeron, 13” TFT Screen, Built-in 802.11b wireless networking, 10/100 Ethernet, 56Kb Modem
    • Computer is replaced every two years
  • Current Technology Fee: $675 per semester
  • Bundled software includes: MS Windows ME, MS Office 2000, SPSS, Maple V, various utilities
  • Bundled services include:
    • Technology Help Desk, PC Repairs, Loaner Computers
    • Network Services, including wireless network access from most academic and public spaces
critical success factors seton hall university
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Create a campus-wide technology plan
    • Aligned with institutional strategic plan
    • Creates compelling vision for how technology will support the institution’s mission and goals
    • Focused on student experience with technology
    • Includes a long-range budget
    • Deals with implications of centralization and standardization of technology planning, acquisition, and support
critical success factors seton hall university1
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Executive sponsorship is vital
    • Obtain buy-in from “Iron Triangle” of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Academic Officer, and Chief Financial Officer
    • Create cross-divisional consensus for ubiquitous computing by engaging admissions, student affairs, career services, development, and other campus support units
critical success factors seton hall university2
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Faculty engagement is equally vital
    • Provide faculty input into planning
    • Provide incentives and support targeted at particular needs of faculty; reward faculty innovation; remove disincentives to faculty engagement
    • Provide multiple ways for faculty to become engaged; include both “top down” and “bottom up” approaches
    • Set bar for entry low; focus on communication aspects of ubiquitous computing before transformational aspects
critical success factors seton hall university3
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Phase in implementation over time
    • Establish good pilot projects
    • Be sure to pilot the environment you are trying to create
      • Mobile Computing Pilot Projects ’95, ’96, ’97
      • “Z” (“Mobile”) Sections of Classes restricted to students in Mobile Computing Pilot Program
    • Establish quality project management
critical success factors seton hall university4
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Develop necessary infrastructure and support services
    • The network is communication backbone of ubiquitous computing; be sure networks are stable and scalable
    • Anticipate increased demand for all types of support
    • View students as prospective support professionals
critical success factors seton hall university5
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Establish long-term budget for technology
    • Explore combination of means to fund initiative
      • Tuition increase
      • Technology fee
      • Reallocation / budget reductions in other areas
      • Capital infusion from quasi-endowment
    • Develop clear replacement strategy
    • Shift to operating rather than capital budgets
    • Lease rather than purchase technology
critical success factors seton hall university6
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Explore partnerships and alliances
    • Use “total cost of ownership” models to make case that lowest purchase price may NOT be lowest overall price
    • Seek partnerships that provide highest quality program and lowest overall cost
critical success factors seton hall university7
Critical Success Factors Seton Hall University
  • Assessment is important
    • Assessment helps with
      • Initial buy-in
      • Tactical adjustment of program
      • Long-term changes in faculty support
    • Be sure to have clear goals to assess
    • Be sure to ask the right questions
      • Definitions of success may vary

Why Ubiquitous Computing?

Karen Petitto

Instructional Technology Specialist

Asst. Professor of Educational Technology

West Virginia Wesleyan College


The volume of new information is increasing at such a rapid pace the class of 2002 will be exposed to more information in one year than their grandparents encountered in a lifetime.


Technology is a competency that is required in the workforce. Over 95% of those employed use technology daily.


Faculty Engagement

  • Small group demonstrations
  • Individual training sessions - JITT
  • Web-based support documents
  • On-call support with emphasis on training and not just fixing problems
    • Software installation
    • Hardware upgrades
  • Goal – Information Literate Faculty
electronic library the first word in information technology is information
24 x 7 Electronic Access

Over 10,000 full-text research titles available

Electronic Reserves

Real Audio Server

Yes, we still have books, a lot of books…

Electronic LibraryThe first word in Information Technology is ‘INFORMATION’
great literary works
Great Literary Works

Gutenberg Bible

  • The Grenville Library, British Library, digitized by the HUMI Project, Keio University, March 2000
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer

Canterbury Tales

The Knight’s Tale

(RARE) PR 1850 1561x

Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

art history
Art History

science laboratories
Science Laboratories

Students actively participate in the scientific method…

science laboratories1
Science Laboratories

…or investigate new learning tools

emerging technologies
Emerging Technologies

Mobile Computing Predominates

Ubiquitous Wireless Access

Web-based course materials

Online conferencing for faculty and students

Poised for future developments


ubiquitous computing at a large public research university
Ubiquitous Computing at a Large Public Research University

John L. Oberlin

Associate Vice Chancellor

for Information Technology

University of North Carolina

at Chapel Hill

implementing ubiquitous computing at unc chapel hill
Implementing Ubiquitous Computing at UNC Chapel Hill
  • Before 1998
    • No computer standards on campus
    • No commitment to adequately fund or life-cycle instructional technology
    • Minimal commitment to computer support
    • History of large but ad hoc use of teaching and learning programs with technology
    • Limited but effective commitment to supporting basic instructional technology
how did this happen
How Did This Happen?
  • Several years of faculty and administrative debate over the need for a student computing program
  • Chancellor Michael Hooker called for the investigation of the viability of a student computing program.
  • Information technology units reorganized under a Vice Chancellor and CIO
  • Final proposal received the endorsement of the Chancellor, Faculty Council, Provost, and Student Body President, and Board of Trustees
strategic planning process
Strategic Planning Process
  • Assessment:
    • personal computing systems in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • trends in student ownership of personal computers
    • student computer labs and computer classrooms
  • Implementation:
    • Volume based best value RFP for personal computers
    • Creation of the CCI steering committee
why require student computers
Why Require Student Computers?
  • Students were buying them anyway.
    • Need to provide viable support
    • Need to solve social equity problem
    • Need to lower the acquisition cost
  • Faculty obstacles to adopting instructional technology
    • Need for faculty to count on students having viable minimum computer
    • Need for faculty to have viable computers and viable support of instructional technologies
why mobile computing
Why Mobile Computing?
  • The need to be “able” to use computers in the classroom
  • The cost of scaling student labs is prohibitive
  • The cost of scaling computer classrooms is prohibitive
planning and implementation
Planning and Implementation
  • Executive working group
  • Assessment of current environment:
    • Who has computers? What age? What level?
    • What is the network environment?
    • What support programs are in place and what is needed? (faculty and technical support)
  • RFP for hardware:
    • A commitment to a single vendor
    • A very competitive process
    • Based on volume from all faculty and students
    • A “best value” bid
planning and implementation1
Planning and Implementation
  • CCI steering committee:
    • Nine subcommittees, 120 participants, faculty, staff, students
    • Committed to program before we had all the answers
  • Entitlement program for Arts and Sciences:
    • Central funding for faculty and teaching assistants
    • Entitlement, not requirement for faculty
    • Funded through and administered by central IT organization
  • Pilots
    • Pilots are for logistics, not for academics
ordering distribution and asset management
Ordering, Distribution and Asset Management
  • Automated online ordering system:
    • Four models available on web, integrated into the FRS system
    • Models updated twice each year
  • Student Distribution:
    • Distributed to students during summer orientation
    • Orientation very important to managing support cost
    • Passwords, email, web space, policy orientation
distribution and asset management
Distribution and Asset Management
  • Faculty Distribution:
    • Entitlement program
    • Three year life cycle
    • Distributed by department (1/3 of A&S per year)
    • Orientation, training, delivery, installation, migration, etc.
  • Asset Management:
    • Central administration of program
    • Only responsibility of end user is to not loose computer
technical support and maintenance
Technical Support and Maintenance
  • Information Technology Response Center
    • Commitment to handle 70%-80% of all calls on first contact (80,000 contacts per year)
    • Commitment to refer unresolved problems directly to someone who can solve them
    • Commitment to guarantee follow-up on referrals
    • Relies on Remedy problem tracking and resolution software system
    • Many schools and departments participate, more joining all the time
    • The single greatest social change on campus as a result of the CCI
technical support and maintenance1
Technical Support and Maintenance
  • Control Center
    • Combination of Operations group and Network Operations Center
    • Physical and electronic security, system monitoring, remote management, 7/24 availability
  • Computer Repair Center
    • Same day service
    • Walk in or on site service calls
    • Full warranty and insurance repair center
    • University staffed
critical success factors
Critical Success Factors
  • Ubiquitous computing is not really new, the commitment to do things well is what makes the difference
  • Ubiquitous computing doesn’t integrate technology into the curriculum, it only makes it possible
  • Ubiquitous computing doesn’t solve everything, it does make most things better
  • The most important implementation committee is the communication committee
  • There are many values to the program, to best way to doom the program is to over sell the benefits