Updates on the way

by Hanna Russmann/Staff Writer

  Throughout the semester, the Technology Strategic Planning Committee has been working on a three-year plan to present to President John Byrd so that Simpson  College can update its technology. Some of the proposed updates include improving Internet bandwidth, which will speed up the Internet connections, classroom technology and increase mobile connectivity for smart phones.  Other projects to be included will be taken from technology surveys that were sent out to students, faculty and staff last month.  Jim Thorius, vice president for planning and student development and dean of students, is pleased with the diligence of the TSP Committee.”We have been meeting since late September, trying to take at look at what our technology issues are at Simpson, and how we compare to other institutions,” Thorius said. According to Thorius, all of the information from the surveys is still being looked at and considered for the plan. A good number of students, faculty and staff participated in the survey.”We are still in the process of trying to analyze the data from the survey,” Thorius said.  “We had nearly 600 respondents to the survey.”Kelley Bradder, vice president of Information Services and chief information officer, is also a part of the TSP Committee.  As part of Information Services, Bradder knows the importance of having to update technology at Simpson.”It is important to create a strategic plan for technology so the college’s resources are used on the highest priority items needed to support student learning,” Bradder said. The plan, developed by the committee, should be ready to be put into action by early next year, but until then the committee will continue its work.”The plan should begin in the spring or summer of 2010 to 2013,” Bradder said. “The process to develop the plan will continue to gather input from students, faculty and staff by surveys, focus groups and meetings.”Information Services has been working on other projects aside from those that will be covered in the three-year plan. “(Information Services) is finishing the implementation of a new payroll system,” Bradder said. “We are also working on lecture capture software called Camtasia Relay that can record learning materials and provide them to students on-line through Scholar.”Sophomore Jessica Fraser is one of the many students who took the technology survey that was sent out.  “I think I commented on the Internet’s speed,” Fraser said.  “I’m not sure what else they could do because once we got wireless Internet, I think that improved a lot of things.”Fraser believes that the technology overall at Simpson is good and is satisfied with the Internet services provided on campus.”The projectors they have in the classrooms seem to work out well, and the professors use them a lot,” Fraser said.  “I think the students get a lot out of it.  The wireless Internet is definitely really helpful and convenient.  I think that was one of the best improvements from last year.”