Technology Plan - Software Replacement, Upgrade & Maintenance
As software applications acquire new features and capabilities, Chabot continually faces the need to upgrade its software. Some upgrades are driven by the desire to improve support of student learning, while others are dictated by the need to keep pace and maintain compatibility with other institutions. Software upgrades place a heavy demand on College resources, because upgrading a single application often requires upgrading the operating system or even the hardware that supports it.
Like all computer users, the College also has to deal with compatibility issues. From different hardware platforms to different file/data formats, being able to share reliable/secure information is key to a successful organization, and so are the tools that enable cross-platform compatibility.
As the number of employees, students, and computers increases, so does the risk of having unlicensed software. As a result of faculty, staff, and students bringing in software from home and having campus-wide network access, controlling who installs software and what software is installed becomes more difficult. Whenever software is installed on its computers, the College is agreeing to abide by the software maker’s terms and conditions. Thus, every day, the College unknowingly enters into license agreements.
The College supports applications that run on Macintosh and Windows systems. Support levels for these applications are as varied as the applications themselves, as is to be expected in a distributed computing environment where the user of the application is generally the most knowledgeable about it. At the same time, all new faculty and staff computers and all office computers come equipped with a standard package of Microsoft Office and GroupWise.
Currently within the College, there are single-user licenses, multiple-user licenses, and site licenses. Some monitoring and tracking of campuslicensed software occurs, but no standard procedure exists for dealing with copyright violations. Individual departments may purchase and license any software package they choose provided that IT has reviewed and approved their request. Specific needs for specialized applications can create a vast variety of software. Occasionally, the users’ current hardware will not support their newly purchased software packages. In addition, software patches and upgrades are continually becoming available and need to be installed College-wide. Chabot Computer Support is performing centralized patch management for Microsoft products and Norton Antivirus. Chabot Computer Support also
maintains System Management Server Services to remote install and maintain computer systems on the instructional portion of the campus.
The College should strive for further standardization of general-use, College-licensed software. The basic setup should include accessibility software necessary for compliance with federal and state regulations.
Upgrades and new applications should be evaluated for functionality, system requirements, investment value, and feasibility of cross-platform operation. The expertise for selection should come from a combination of the Chabot
Computer Support staff and the department requesting the software. Procedures need to be established and adhered to for procurement of software. These procedures will reduce the waste and delays to classes due to software incompatibility with hardware and other software already in use in the desired labs. Computer Support Services and other staff must continue to receive training to support installed applications. The compatibility of assistive software programs and campus wide programs for students should be considered when new software, upgrades and maintenance are considered. The College should be responsible in keeping the assistive programs upgraded to the level of compatibility when new software upgrade and maintenance is considered. If the current assistive software is not compatible with the campus wide software being purchased, upgraded or maintained, the compatible assistive software upgrade cost should be included in any purchasing, upgrading or maintenance.