Appendix A: Classroom Instructional Technology

The present base of instructional technology in UVM classrooms reflects the changing interests and competencies in the teaching methodologies of our faculty. Over the years, the sophistication of classroom technology has increased as faculty have requested equipment with greater capacity to support their classroom activities. The transition from chalkboard to audiovisual equipment to computer-based presentation and teaching technologies is one which has been led by faculty demand. In order to best deploy our resources, decisions regarding the installation of equipment to support instructional technology have been made based on knowledge of documented needs. These needs are assessed on an ongoing basis. Direct faculty requests, which consistently exceed the available resources, have been given priority for funding.

Replacement funding for instructional technology has always been a problem at UVM, and there are no resources budgeted for this purpose. Investments in upgrading classroom equipment and the installation of new technologies have been made as one-time funds became available. These needs have usually been funded from the Classroom Improvement Fund, but these resources serve multiple purposes and have declined over the past several years.

The opening of the Old Mill/Lafayette Complex, with its distance learning classrooms and newly outfitted lecture halls and seminar rooms, has substantially increased our capacity to support emerging teaching methodologies with advanced instructional technology. However, as faculty begin to teach in this facility, the demands across campus for similarly equipped classrooms increases. Many faculty are willing to put in the time to rework their curricula, but they must be assured of adequate classroom technology to support such efforts. The need for faculty development in instructional technology is also real, most often in the form of release time and recognition in the reward process for such effort.

Equipment maintenance and support for classroom technology present new demands on our resources. Media Services has been responsible for support of audiovisual equipment in centrally scheduled classrooms for many years, and staff with appropriate expertise are in place for this function. Most computer enabled classrooms on campus have been installed by individual colleges and schools, with attendant support for both teaching and laboratory applications residing with the unit involved. Ongoing evaluation is needed to ensure effective utilization of these distributed resources. We are moving to a model of centrally scheduled computer classrooms, and new mechanisms for support by Media Services are being explored. As this trend in classroom technology continues, staffing and operational resources must be identified to provide appropriate support, and delineation of responsibility for this function needs to be formalized.

Current Status and Investment in Classroom Instructional Technology (July, 1997)

With the exception of some small departmental spaces used as classrooms, all "general, priority and restricted" classified rooms (125) contain some level of AV/IT equipment.

Current Status:



Current base cost (at present pricing levels and assuming basic network infrastructure)


Annual budget required to build Replacement Fund ( Four year term)

$ 495,763.*

Associated maintenance costs (not including campus support unit)

$ 99,153.*

Annual cost for computer classroom staff support, 50% FTE, (includes benefits)

$ 13,000.

* Not currently funded

Current Needs in Classroom Instructional Technology (July, 1997)

Current Needs as requested by faculty *

* Based on faculty surveys FY'95, FY'96, & ITEC I.

Investment required to reach current requested needs:

Base cost, (at present pricing levels and assuming basic network infrastructure)

$ 1,289,250.

Annual budget required to build Replacement Fund ( Four year term)


Associated annual maintenance costs (not including campus support unit)


Annual cost for computer classroom staff support, 50% FTE (includes benefits)


Appendix B: Data Networking Infrastructure

Current Assessment

The University of Vermont maintains a sophisticated electronic infrastructure using modern, mainstream information technology for voice, video and data communications. This production infrastructure is continuously being extended and advanced while emerging technologies are explored and evaluated.

The campus network, which is based upon a switched FDDI 100 megabit backbone with 10baseT Ethernet using mostly telephone twisted pair to the workstations, reaches every building, office and residence hall room on campus. This includes over 100 subnets and over 6300 Ethernet connections. FDDI is also used to cluster several high-end Unix systems that serve the entire campus. Cisco 7500-class routers, Cabletron intelligent hubs, fiber optic cable, telephone twisted pair and category 5 copper form the hardware basis for production networks.

All residence hall rooms have network connections, of which most have a connection per resident. By the fall of 1998, the project to wire "a port per pillow" will be complete. Although the network is based primarily upon TCP/IP, other protocols such as Appletalk and Novell IPX are also currently supported throughout the network. The primary uses of the data network include Web applications, electronic mail, host and print/file server access, newsgroups, and file transfer. Virtually all students, faculty and staff employ network facilities on a daily basis for instruction, research, communications, business transactions, and special applications such as visualization and geographic information systems.

Through a partnership with a Vermont service provider, all UVM affiliates are able to connect to the campus network via PPP dial-up for a modest monthly fee. Although a few off-campus sites have direct connections to the campus network, most must rely upon dial-up connections.

UVM's Network Services unit has installed 155 MB ATM technologies for the new Digital Media Lab, and has been installing switched Ethernet in newly rewired buildings and in other high-demand areas. In such cases, 100 MB Fast Ethernet is used to connect hubs to backbone routers. A migration to switched backbone technologies began in late 1997. Technologies such as SONET and Gigabit Ethernet are being considered as follow-on technologies to meet the University's future network bandwidth requirements. Acceptance in the marketplace, reliability and economic factors will guide the choices of future technologies.

Programmatic Needs

Clearly, the campus network, the connection to the global Internet, and off-campus access to UVM's networking infrastructure in their current implementations are increasingly important to the needs of teaching, learning, research, service and general communications needs.

 Research: Increasingly, high speed networking is needed to participate in national research projects. These needs range from the obvious projects in computing science and networking itself, include projects with large images or data sets, remote instrumentation, and increasingly, professional collaboration. Sometime in the not to distant future, every professional meeting will have its own "video channel". In the case of the vBNS, for example, there seems to be a conscious effort to split universities into two groups. The top 100 universities will be IN, the 3500 other institutions will be OUT. A related component is "telemedicine." The relationship between the University, the College of Medicine, and FAHC is a critical one.

Teaching And Learning: Distance learning has the unfortunate connotation of spatial separation, and misses the increased avenues of communication and collaboration that become available. Using the term "Computer Mediated Communication" has the side effect of focusing on the "computer." We seldom think of newspaper mediated communication, telephone mediated communication, etc. - rather than on the "mediation" part. "Mediation" allows, for example, space shifting, time shifting, order shifting, content filtering, etc. Whatever the term used, more and more communications are digitally mediated - with computer, telephone, newspaper, etc being a presentation format.

Community: UVM's network becomes UVM, and has to maintain a UVM identity. Otherwise, we're just a part of the University of Southern North Dakota. Building this network identity is a major program challenge.

Part of this is going to include what we would consider "administrative" - the "paperwork" that makes up much of the University work. Paper is as much a glue that holds us together as location. Getting a UVM degree, requires paperwork; courses, grades, credits, programs, degrees, etc.

Culture: None of this will work if people don't know how to use it. It works only if people make it work. This requires cultural shifts across the University. 


Competitive Pressures

It became clear in the late 1980s that network facilities with gateways to the global network are essential for UVM to remain competitive in the higher education and research market. Increasingly, students expect telephone, data and video connections in each campus residence. Faculty and students expect network connections and computer presentation facilities to be readily available in classrooms. Most faculty researchers will not even consider universities who do not have a presence on the Internet. While UVM's current infrastructure is meeting most of these needs, all our peer institutions are increasing the capacity and capabilities of their networking infrastructure. Many campuses have already brought category 5 copper or fiberoptic cabling to every desktop in preparation for video, sound, teleconferencing, and other high-bandwidth applications. When Internet II was announced, universities lined up to join the consortium because of the expectation that, like the original Internet, an Internet II presence will be required to participate in the future research funding. For this reason and the need to support growing demands for high-bandwidth applications, UVM has joined the Internet II consortium, and is submitting a 2-year grant proposal for Internet II connection costs. This grant will require UVM matching investments in campus network infrastructure.


We think that UVM's current plans for enhancing the campus network are on target. Although we have a high-level of confidence in the technical staff that deploy, maintain and enhance UVM's networking facilities, we recognize that one or more advisory bodies will be necessary to guide and provide feedback to the Network Services organization. In addition to the other IT advisory groups, the current and evolving membership of the "Net-Control" distribution list should be included.

Areas of potential concern are related to the following needs:

  1. To bring high-bandwidth applications to desktop computers. Internet II funding will require that high bandwidth be brought to the researchers involved.
  2. To extend the campus network to the extended University. Extension Services, Continuing Education Sites, and remote locations such as the Proctor Maple Research Lab. Demand for high-performance network connections to residences throughout the state is also increasing

1.) Connections for Internet II

These items are of concern, not because of the technological difficulty or controversy about their need, but because of the significant costs involved. High bandwidth applications will require either category 5 copper or fiberoptic connections. We understand and agree that the current plans not to rewire buildings as part of the new telephone system is a financial necessity. However, as the buildings are renovated they should be rewired for a modern high-capacity cable plant.

In the meantime, high-speed connections to specific researchers can be installed on an as needed basis. It may be more economical to rewire buildings with many such researchers (such as Votey or Given) before they would otherwise be renovated. This is primarily a financial decision that can be made at the time.

Because such connections will require costly infrastructure for a relatively few connections, the actual per connection cost will likely be very high. In order to "jump-start" this technology, it will likely be necessary to subsidize a portion of the basic infrastructure to deliver high-bandwidth connections. The premium rate for such connections should be low enough not to deter their use for research and other appropriate applications, but not so heavily subsidized as to make their selection routine until the costs decline or the University is prepared to bear the costs of extensive subsidies.

2.) Off-campus Networking

Today our choices for remote connections are between high-cost and low speed. There are several technologies on the horizon that are expected to make relatively high-speed, low-cost connections available through common carriers. Time will tell.

In the mean time, we recommend that the incremental cost of extending communications facilities to be delivered to an off-campus UVM building should be considered as part of the cost of choosing such a site and should be funded as part of the facility. Naturally we would prefer that every site should have networking facilities that are comparable to those on the main campus. However, because costs are a significant barrier and the necessary common carrier infrastructure is not always present, we can not propose that every site, regardless of its location, be entitled to an identical level of communications service. We do recommend that every site have functional connectivity to the main campus to participate in our electronic community. Currently this implies a minimum of facilities for electronic mail and access to the Web.


Budget and Cost Recovery

Campus Network

We recommend the continuation of the current model for funding and cost recovery of basic campus network infrastructure, i.e. the basic networking infrastructure (backbone, electronics, connection to the Internet, cable plant and staffing) be covered out of monthly communications port fees with a modest one-time hook up fee to cover a portion of incremental costs. For existing communications jacks, this fee has been $100.

Internet II and High-bandwidth Applications

Many, many things regarding Internet II and its cost implications are unclear at this point. We know, however that the new higher bandwidth connections (associated with Internet II and other high bandwidth applications) will require additional investments. The cost of delivering high-bandwidth to campus computers will be significantly higher and can be expected to involve a significantly higher one-time fee to the end user, initially at least. Although we expect most of the cost for the connection to Internet 2 to be covered by federal grants for the first 2 years, the investments in campus network infrastructure that are required for high bandwidth applications will not be; in fact, infrastructure investments will be required as matching funds in order to receive the grants. Existing on-going investments in the campus network are expected to cover most of the requirement for matching funds though clearly some additional expenditures will be necessary. Current short term plans project covering these additional costs through communications port charges.

Although we understand the University is not permitted to share Internet II bandwidth during the 2-year grant term, we feel that will be highly desirable to share the bandwidth and its cost once the term is complete. The cost for a 45 Mbps connection to Internet II is expected to substantially exceed $200,000 per year.

Connections from Off-campus

The cost of special dedicated network connections(such as T1 lines) to off-site locations should be considered as part of the cost of selecting and using such sites. In some locations where such facilities may not be needed, or at least, not cost effective, the use of a dial-up Internet service provider may be a suitable alternative.

Appendix C: Telephone Communications

The telephone system on-campus is often overlooked as both one of the largest computer systems on campus with over 13 million lines of code and as a sophisticated IT instrument. The current 10,000 line PBX telephone switch has served both UVM and Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) since 1985 and is to be replaced with a new system in 1998 with the additional IT capabilities presently not available on the current system or not further available because demand has outstripped current switch processor capacity.

Most private and public organizations have recognized the importance of new phone technology and deployed it to give them a competitive advantage. FAHC, our partner in the new phone system, in particular, has recognized the importance of lost revenue and decreased customer satisfaction due to the IT shortcomings of the current phone system. UVM faces similar problems with the lack of call centers to serve prospective or returning students in areas like Financial Aid, Helpline, Registrar and other offices, as well as the needs of business offices that face high volume of calls during certain periods of the day or year. The call centers employed by the Admissions and Student Accounting offices have only a fraction of the reporting and management tools available in newer call centers developed over the last 14 years.

Advanced Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) technology used by call centers is only one of many IT tools we desire in the new telephone system. Two others include:

The deployment of these technologies would give UVM departments IT tools to improve services delivered to customers. Like all IT tools there are required hardware, software and support costs to deliver IT solutions. These IT tools would require a general funding subsidy until the technologies reach a critical mass to support themselves through charge-back fees. Such funding was successfully used to promote use of PhoneMail and the data network and resulted in tangible productivity benefits campus-wide.  

Appendix D: Year 2000 Issues

There will be a significant, but not unmanageable amount of work to ensure a smooth transition into the new century. Naturally, the systems of greatest concern are the large host systems that support basic infrastructure such as the SIS, HRS, FRS, NOTIS, Telecom and Advancement systems. The extent of the necessary work, which is not limited to administrative systems supported by CIT, encompasses careful planning, client participation and overall resource allocation in CIT and the client areas for installing and testing newer releases of vendor software. The current or imminent versions of our major systems will store and process 4 digit years. This is one of the benefits UVM enjoys from the decision to move from in-house applications toward vendor developed and supported systems.

There are some areas of concern. Some older PC systems won't support dates beyond the year 1999. Researchers may have research datasets with 2 digit years. Some departmentally developed systems may need revision by the developers of such systems. CIT will be undertaking an education campaign to help people understand and evaluate the impact on their systems.

A committee has been formed to construct an action plan for dealing with year 2000 issues at UVM. The committee membership represents all areas of the University where we suspect the century change may have unexpected adverse effects. This committee will develop a communication plan designed to ensure that all University units are aware of potential impacts, and to help units begin evaluating risks. The committee will also maintain an inventory of systems that may be affected, the level of risk associated with the system, the level of confidence that systems are or will be compliant, and a contact in the department that is responsible for further analysis and action.

Plans for upgrading systems which are identified as non-compliant will be reviewed. Cases that pose significant risk of impacting University operations will be brought to the attention of the Provost for further action.

No additional funds have been requested to meet this need. However, updating and replacing systems will require reassignments of staff and other resources from other projects. In some areas, there may be need for technical support to assist them to make the necessary modifications to their locally developed or purchased systems. Concerns have been raised about equipment with embedded computer chips that may be vulnerable to century roll-over. We do not fully understand the extent of this problem at this time. See Year2000 Issues for more information.


Appendix E: UVM and Fletcher Allen Health Care

UVM's partnership with Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) has important technological implications for many University departments. Currently Fletcher Allen is directly involved in 26 of our academic programs; many UVM students, faculty and staff have regular needs to communicate with the FAHC personnel and IT systems; many people in the Fletcher Allen campus have a need to access UVM's IT infrastructure. Because of this close relationship and our shared need to collaborate, it is vital that we pay close attention to the need for implementing IT solutions that do not create barriers, but rather foster an environment that facilitates collaboration especially for those who must work in both environments. It is for these reasons and advantages related to economy of scale that UVM and Fletcher Allen share a telephone system.

In general, the growing importance of the Internet is already leading both organizations to adopt "open" solutions that substantially reduce the barriers to communication. Although there are clearly some differing requirements and varying needs for flexibility, especially in areas of research, we think that in cases of core information technology infrastructure (e.g., network protocols, email, word-processing, spreadsheets, and terminal emulators), our implementations are not so far apart and could, in many cases, be identical. Naturally there will be challenges in areas involving special security needs that may frustrate the adoption of common solutions. Currently, for example, Fletcher Allen uses "firewall" technology to restrict access to some of their systems while UVM uses encryption and non-internet protocols to secure systems that are otherwise open to the Internet.


Working with the FAHC IT management, UVM IT management should bring together a joint task force to analyze requirements and develop a standard desktop computing configuration to serve the needs of those who work within both UVM and FAHC environments. The analysis should also address the unique security requirements of each organization in a way that minimizes intrusion and barriers to communication.