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Phase II of the technology plan forges ahead on campus


Professor Gerald Myers helps School of Business students locate information relevant to their class in one of the computer labs/classrooms on the PLU campus. From left, Minsoo Chun '99, Professor Myers, Annette Stewart-Fulton '00, and Mary Rotondo '99.

Phase II of the PLU Information Technology Plan is now underway on campus. The purpose of this phase is to accomplish several goals, including:

  • Integrating the appropriate skills for using modern technologies in the core courses and the academic majors. This includes instructing students in technology issues ranging from using online library resources to making them aware of the ethical, legal, psychological and sociological implications of current technology.
  • Continuing to develop the technological infrastructure by upgrading the network and extending Ethernet connections to several areas on campus, including the library, commuter and residence hall lounges and classrooms. Also developing the university's participation in advanced technologies, such as the Internet II project.
  • Improving back-up resources and completing the installation of help-desk software for online assistance and support in order to manage computer repairs and maintenance.
  • Expanding the technological support for faculty, staff and students by preparing and implementing training programs for computer technology, online resources and web products.
  • Continuing the expansion of the Banner information system so that faculty, staff and students can access information ranging, within certain confidentiality restrictions, from human resources records to checking the status of financial aid awards to registration for classes.
Banner, through the World Wide Web, is now accessible to students, with appropriate passwords, from anywhere in the world, according to Sheri Tonn, vice president of finance and operations. Prospective students can also apply to the university online. "Within an hour of going online last December we received four applications from interested students," said Tonn.

Phase I of the technology plan, which was accomplished by early 1999, involved, among other things, building the technological infrastructure of the campus and creating ResNet, the network that now provides computer outlets for all students in their dormitories to connect to the university network.

In conjunction with the technology plan, a group of university administrators, PLU graduates and other leaders in technology, has been meeting as a Technology Advisory Council to act as an informed observer that offers advice and guidance on the role of technology at PLU.

Tonn, a member of the council, summed up the work and goals of PLU's Information Technology Plan by saying that the "change in technology over the last two years has been mind boggling. We are committed to remaining on the cutting edge, but not on the bleeding edge. We are working hard, through pilot projects and close scrutiny of other universities, not to waste time or resources on technology that will not pan out."

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