The RAM’s new BYTE

Sep 092003
Authors: Christiana Nelson

The budget from the recently imposed University Technology Fee will remain unplanned to allow for flexibility in technology programs, said Brandi Johnson, a senior marketing major and chairman of the University Technology Fee Advisory Board.

“There are so many technological needs identified across campus,” Johnson said, adding that the budget proposal still requires CSU President Larry Penley’s signature. “Our first proposal was to replace the backend of RAMweb. The ISIS (Intermediate System-to-Intermediate System) is 15 years old and replacing it would have an effect on every student.”

Although every student would be affected by such technological changes, Shannon Nelsen, a junior business marketing major, admits that she did not even realize a new student fee had been added.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what I paid this year,” Nelsen said.

During their July session, the Board of Governors of the CSU System approved a proposal for a new technology fee of $15 to be added to every student’s university fees. The fee has created an estimated $885,000 technology budget at CSU in addition to departmental technology budgets.

“After examining peer institutions we realized the fee could improve technology across the board,” Johnson said. “The changes will keep CSU in competition with peer institutions.”

Some students do not have any problem with the student technology fee. Justin Jarvis, a junior English major, would even consider paying more money for improved technology at CSU.

“Fifteen dollars, that’s it?” Jarvis said. “I would probably pay up to $150 per semester. Just being a CSU student, everyone should have to pay something for the stuff that everyone uses.”

On the other hand, Shauna Magid, freshman zoology major, does not enjoy the idea of spending more money on university student fees for technology when she is already paying a departmental technology fee.

“The price is pretty appropriate…but I don’t really think it is necessary,” Magid said. “Maybe it is just because I have to pay extra money, but I don’t see why there are two fees.”

The university technology budget will be spent based on requests from campus departments. The requests must contain a budget proposal and a three-year project plan, both of which are then evaluated, Johnson said.

The evaluation is based upon seven different criteria, which analyze the service’s ability to benefit students and adhere to the budget and project plan.

Andrea Godshalk, a junior American studies major, has her own ideas for what the technology fee should cover.

“I want to print electronic reserves without having to pay,” Godshalk said. “I don’t want to have to pay for printing if I’m paying technology fees.”

Over the summer the university made changes to RAMweb with a “printable class schedule” link and updated the system for searching for classes to real time data, which is a continuous update of information over the Internet. Increasing real time data is something sophomore Brandon Strain, a wildlife biology major, thinks is important.

“(Real time data) is pretty important if you are waiting to get into a class,” Strain said. “I’ve had that problem before. It said classes were open and then they weren’t because the site was not updated.”

Robyn Madsen, a junior speech communication major, agreed.

“A lot of us rely on the instantaneous reaction that we think we can get from technology,” she said.

The university hopes that it can expand on the RAMweb changes and continue to increase university technology capabilities. However, the anticipated technological improvements for the university are not expected immediately because many upgrades could take years to be finalized.

“The way student fees work, in general, is that some changes may be visible this year,” Johnson said. “Yet, sometimes things are implemented now and won’t be seen until the future.”

Use as OUTBOX or don’t use – thanks!

Seven criteria for proposal evaluation …

1. The service’s ability to benefit as many Colorado State University students as possible;

2. The service’s ability to effectively use the fee;

3. The project proposal is not funded through individual college Charges for Technology;

4. The service’s adherence to its planned budget and accountability for its expenses throughout the past fiscal year, if appropriate;

5. The service’s potential for direct student use;

6. The effort and thought reflected in the project plan;

7. The justification and clarity of the project plan and presentation.

SOURCE: (University Technology Fee Advisory Board Website)

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