III. Strategic Initiatives

The following strategic initiatives will be undertaken in order to achieve the vision in the next three years. The initiatives have originated from various sources.  Many of the initiatives have been brought forward through the Administrative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC).  Some have come from the various participatory governance and advisory groups within the District and other initiatives have originated from the Information Technology Department.

The following chart displays the alignment the Strategic Goals and Objectives with the Initiatives:Tech Plan

The  following sections provide overviews of the initiatives, with a listing of benefits, estimated resource requirements, and projected timelines.

Banner Financial Aid Implementation

Our colleges currently use a software package called PowerFAIDS for awarding and packaging financial aid for students.  The system was in place prior to the implementation of the Banner system.  For various reasons, use of the system continued after the Banner environment was brought online.

The PowerFAIDS system does not directly interface to the Banner system, thus requiring significant staff time to integrate the data in the two systems.  Processing time is increased due to duplication of effort.  Reporting capabilities are limited.  The biggest drawback is that the current PowerFAIDS implementation does not provide online status information, so students must call or come to the Financial Aid offices to get updates on their awards.

The Banner Financial Aid module was purchased when the VCCCD acquired the Banner system in 1999.  The module is fully integrated with the other Banner modules, including Student and Finance.  The full integration will improve data integrity and security, improve MIS and FISAP reporting, increase efficiency through reduction in duplication of effort, and allow for streamlining processes and standardization between the three college Financial Aid offices.

The Banner Financial Aid online self-service module will provide a number of services to students via the portal, including viewing documents and academic progress, viewing and printing award letters, and viewing work study earnings and balances.  The ability to get the information online will reduce lines and call volumes in the FA offices.   And paper usage and mailing costs will decrease with access to online information.

Benefits:

  • Full integration with Banner Student and Finance modules
  • Reduced workload with data integration
  • Improved security
  • Improved reporting
  • Online information for students
  • Reduced paper storage

Resources:   IT position will be created to coordinate running of new system, replacing individual campus positions; Project is already funded

Timeline: Project will be completed by end of 2011

Capital Construction Projects Support

In December 2001, the Ventura County Community College District's Board of Trustees approved a resolution for the placement of a bond initiative on the March 2002 Ventura County election ballot as Measure S.  At the March election, the citizens of Ventura County approved the issuance of bonds totaling $356.3 million for construction and rehabilitation of facilities on the three community college campuses and the Camarillo site.

The IT Department provides multiple services related to the construction of new facilities.  Services are coordinated with the colleges under the direction of Heery International, the company overseeing the bond construction management for the District.  These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Time and effort is spent with the Architects and their subcontractors on the building specifications for technology infrastructure
  • Interviews of stakeholders to determine long-term technology needs
  • Input on bid specifications
  • Review of bid submittals
  • Meetings with the general contractor and subcontractor to review and discuss details of the infrastructure
  • Review of work completed in conjunction with contract administration
  • Work with Purchasing and the colleges on equipment budgets and procurement
  • Equipment installation in facility (network, computers, phones, Audio/Visual)
  • Assist with moves into the new facilities

Numerous capital construction projects are in progress, and will come to completion through 2014.  IT will continue to provide services for all projects through completion, and will maintain the infrastructure after occupancy.

Benefits:

  • All work conforms to District IT infrastructure standards
  • Ensure sufficient infrastructure for initial needs, and provide for growth
  • All new technology equipment and software is deployed to campus and District standards

Resources:  Significant IT effort over multiple years; Funding from Measure S project budgets

Timeline:  Projects will continue through 2013

Degree Audit and Planning Tool

Many manual processes are in place to advise and assist students.  A degree audit and planning tool would automate many of those manual processes.

Current tools and processes for advising students are difficult to use with limited features.  More robust tools are available, providing advanced features that can assist with student advising, degree audit, educational plans, and research.  These tools also integrate with Banner.

The online system access will allow students to access information prior to meeting with an advisor, or provide self-service planning capabilities to the student.

This project has been designated by ATAC as the number one priority on the list of pending projects.

Benefits:

  • Determine what requirements are needed to be fulfilled in order to complete a degree; providing tools for planning future course selections and degree progress
  • Potential for institutional planning for course demand/need
  • View individual course grades, cumulative grade-point average (GPA), major average, and academic standing
  • View transfer credits, waivers, and exemptions applied toward degree
  • Assess transcript against articulation agreements for transfer to four year institutions, including capacity to run 'What If' options
  • Determine which courses have been taken or transferred, and which ones count as electives 
  • Estimate how many semesters it will take to graduate 
  • Learn the prerequisites and co-requisites for courses by clicking on the course numbers

Resources: Consultants will be retained to assist IT and college staff with the implementation; Funding source will be the New Information Technology budget, with an estimated implementation cost of approximately $200,000 and ongoing annual costs of approximately $15,000.

Timeline:  Pending approval, this project will begin in 2011 and be completed within 12 months.

Desktop and Application Virtualization

Under current paradigms labs are provisioned with a suite of applications based upon faculty / course assignment. Installation often requires hands to touch every computer in a lab, once a stable image has been developed. Changes in scheduling, or short notice from faculty on updated software needs, create an occasionally frantic effort to redeploy a lab.

Decoupling hardware from application / technology enables a substantially more agile delivery of services.  Virtualizing applications and desktops, the containerizing of services, removes hardware dependencies and software conflicts for an individual lab deployment, and offers opportunity for granular delivery of applications based upon enrollment.

Moving the processing, or actual computing activity, to a server level enables a commoditizing of applications and operating systems, and renders them substantially more portable.  Rather than having to install to individual workstations, one image of an application or a desktop is rendered and then shared among multiple users and terminals.  This delivery becomes platform agnostic, and in many ways obsoletes the desktop CPU's processing needs. It becomes a delivery terminal.

Benefits:

  • One-to-many delivery of applications and operating system images, enabling the rapid deployment of service adapting to changing classroom/lab/instructional needs
  • Enabling a more nimble paradigm of updates and patch management – updating one image is substantially faster and more cost effective than updating hundreds
  • Enrollment-based provisioning of applications through attributes within the users identity – dependent upon a successful Identity Management (IdM) implementation
  • Enhanced accuracy in software licensing, potentially resulting is substantial savings in per seat costs of software packages
  • Dynamic delivery of instructional applications beyond the campus boundaries, providing students much more flexible access to applications required for coursework
  • Substantial savings in refresh of desktop systems by replacing them with thin client terminal, also resulting in dramatic savings in electricity, and facility costs
  • Reduced capital expenditures due to longer lifespan of thin client hardware

Resources:   Significant IT resources will be required for implementation; Hardware and software expenditures will be significant, funded by the college Technology Refresh budgets.

Timeline:  Project will commence in 2011 and will continue into 2013.

Document Imaging

The District complies with Title 5 and other legal requirements for document retention.  This involves archiving and retention of vast amounts of paper documents.  There is a significant amount of physical storage space required in the college and district warehouses and in secure storage areas in various offices.  Retrieving older documents is a time-consuming, inefficient process; one document can take an hour or more to retrieve.

As information needs and requirements grow the challenges for file retention, storage and retrieval will continue to grow ever larger.  The tasks of document management will continue to grow more expensive and time consuming. A document imaging solution would solve many of these issues.

ATAC has designated this project as the number two priority on the list of pending projects.  Data is being gathered for analyzing system options.

Types of documents that could be digitized:

  • Transcripts – internal and external
  • Applications
  • Grade and class rosters
  • Financial Aid documents
  • Student Business Office – financial records
  • Financial documents, including Accounts Payable and Purchasing
  • Payroll records
  • Human Resources

Benefits:

  • A "green" computing initiative, reduces paper requirements
  • Minimize paper storage, reducing storage costs
  • Eliminate manual and time-consuming searches for physical documents
  • Improve employee efficiency by providing immediate availability of information
  • Increase information security and reduces possibility of loss or destruction of originals
  • Document availability district-wide
  • Facilitates articulation between the three colleges – needed for Title 5 compliance
  • Enhanced services to our students

Resources:   Significant IT and college staff time will be required; Funding source will be the New Information Technology budget, with an estimated implementation cost of $200,000

Timeline:  Pending approval and funding availability, project would begin in 2012 and be completed in 2013.

Expand Support for Campus Technology & Online Systems

Marked growth in distance learning courses and online systems has increased systems usage substantially during evenings and on the weekend.  Current support options leave a substantial gap for students and faculty after 6:00 PM during the week and over weekends.

Call volumes increase dramatically with the start of each semester.  This peak period spans the week prior to, and three weeks after, the start of each term.  The majority of these calls are new students using District systems for the first time and returning instructors often forget system passwords and require assistance logging back in.

Outsourced help desk services have been considered, but the cost is very high.  Two of the colleges had previous experience using such a service as part of a state grant program.  The service had extremely long hold times during the peak periods at the beginning of the Fall semester, leading to a high call abandonment rate. The quality of the support was inconsistent, creating a high-level of student frustration.  Based upon the previous experience and high costs, this is not considered a viable option.

District IT has been exploring options to offer additional help desk support for online faculty and students during non-traditional hours.  Adding evening support during those time periods is being evaluated from a cost and logistical standpoint.

After-hours support is also needed for classroom technology support.  Issues with smart classroom equipment and a lack of system knowledge by some users can lead to delay or disruption of instruction.

Seasonal phone support and provisional staffing at the campus level are being considered to bridge peak needs at the campus level. A seasonal help desk job classification has been established targeted on providing basic support capabilities at night.

Benefits:

  • After-hours assistance for students with login issues
  • Assistance with online registration questions
  • Assistance for distance learning students and faculty during peak usage hours (between 10:00 PM and midnight)
  • Resource for assistance with technical difficulties in classrooms
  • Provide guidance and training to faculty with classroom equipment

Resources: Seasonal help-desk staff will be hired, funded by the Remote Registration Fees budget

Timeline: New hires will begin providing after-hours help desk support in the Fall 2012 semester

Identity Management

Identity management (IdM) is the use of various technologies to identify individuals in a system (such as a network or an organization) and control access to the resources in that system by placing restrictions on the established identities of the individuals.

An IdM system will provide a deeper capacity to automate provisioning of, and access to, services through attribute allocation.  Attributes can include: class standing; club/organizational membership; addition to course/instructional based listservs; opt-in of SMS communication from a distance learning service; course enrollment; enrolled/disenrolled status; or at risk status. Attributes can enable back-end systems automation, self-provisioning of services, or identification of specialized services to allow greater self-help capacities. In close integration with other initiatives, most notably desktop virtualization, IdM at a systemic level will allow the District to substantially advance its ability to provision and deliver technology services at a highly personalized level.

The California Community College Chancellor's Office has started an initiative to implement IdM at a state level.  They currently plan to utilize Shibboleth and support InCommon.  The Shibboleth System is a standards-based, open source software package for web single sign-on across or within organizational boundaries. InCommon serves the U.S. education and research communities, supporting a common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to on-line resources.

Benefits:

  • Enrollment-based provisioning of applications
  • Automated expiration access to services or applications
  • Greater capacity for verification of eligibility to access library services
  • Accountability with peer sharing and access to services
  • User based authentication to wireless and desktop services
  • Capacity for targeted content delivery within web services, including refinement of support solutions specific to an enrolled course, or specialty application.
  • Ubiquity in access across campuses
  • Effective delivery of instructional applications to distance learning students beyond campus boundaries

Resource:   IT staff resource needs have yet to be determined; funding requirements should be minimal as the required tools are available from the open source community

Timeline:  Project will probably commence in 2012, end date to be determined.

Information Availability and Reporting

In order to provide accurate and consistent data across the District, a comprehensive, coordinated approach is needed.

The primary issues of collecting and distributing accurate and consistent data should address the following questions and tasks:

  • When and how data is captured
  • What data should be captured
  • Why is the data being captured
  • Coordinated processing of data
  • Dissemination of appropriate data to internal and external components

A Data Mart will be created that includes data captured at the following critical times: first day of the semester, fourth week census, and end of term after grade submissions.  The Data Mart will produce a standard set of reports to be posted on the public websites.  There will be a larger set of reports available for internal use and analysis.

More powerful reporting and business intelligence tools will be researched and analyzed to determine if such tools would streamline or automate the data gathering processes.

Longer-term, data warehouse options will be researched.

Benefits:

  • Consistent and accurate data
  • Coordinated data processing
  • Standard data definitions
  • Standardized reports for public availability
  • Standard and custom reports for internal usage
  • Improved performance on production databases through redirecting queries not needing live data

Resources: IT and research staff time will be needed to develop the Data Mart; the Data Mart will not require funding; enhanced reporting tools will be assessed, with potential funding to be identified; a data warehouse will require significant funding

Timeline:  The project has already begun, and will continue into 2012

Information Security Enhancements

Each year the number of security threats to Information Systems grows.  In order to maintain confidentiality, availability, and integrity, the District must continue to invest in technologies and develop processes for securing its systems.

Recent upgrades to security systems include:

  • Implementation of a new desktop anti-virus system
  • Implementation of a new email security appliance 
  • Implementation of next generation firewalls
  • Establishing a Disaster Recovery site at Moorpark College

Information security is an ongoing process.  There are a number of additional challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Development, adoption, and implementation of 
  • Replacing the aging internal firewalls
  • Adding the capability for encryption, including email, hard drives, and removable media
  • Restricting remote access
  • Developing and implementing Disaster Recovery / Business Resumption procedures for critical applications
  • Ongoing security awareness training

Benefits:

  • Data confidentiality and integrity is maintained
  • Systems are available
  • Compliance with applicable laws
  • Compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards

Resources: IT staff efforts will be significant; new technologies will be funded through various sources, including District and college Technology Refresh budgets

Timeline:   IT efforts will be ongoing; policy and procedure development has already begun and will be ongoing; user security awareness training will begin in 2011 and be ongoing

Library Management Systems Integration and Consolidation

Our libraries are facing the challenges of increasing user expectations with the rapidly expanding variety of information sources available today.  With the current limitations of staff resources and shrinking budgets, there is a need for increased operational efficiencies. To meet these challenges, our libraries require an infrastructure that enables them to continue offering services in a constantly evolving environment.

Currently our colleges have separate library automationsystems that are not integrated.  Ventura and Oxnard use systems from The Library Corporation (TLC) and Moorpark utilizes a system from Ex Libris.  The Voyager system from Ex Libris is the superior of the two systems.  It was designed for higher education, and contains a number of features not available in the TLC system.

Moving all three college libraries onto the same library automation system (one system, three locations) would provide the ability to share resources, including inter-library loan.  Procedures would need to be put in place to ensure that the books and other items are returned to their home location.   If the system is set up properly, each library could still retain a local call number for the book or other item and could still maintain different circulation periods (for example if one library had a circulation period of two weeks while another had a circulation of three weeks).

Benefits:

  • Enable the students in the district to see the collections at all three libraries from any location
  • Enable materials to be requested via district courier so that they could be picked up at and returned to any district location
  • Potentially reduce materials acquisition costs by allowing sharing of resources
  • Provide a platform for managing electronic reserves and e-books
  • Provide a powerful research platform for students that would encompass district-wide library resources, research database subscriptions, and online resources

Resources: IT staff time for implementation will not be significant; there will be training at all three colleges for library personnel; One-time funds will be used at Ventura and Moorpark, with Oxnard's portion coming from the Measure S bond project to expand the Learning Resource Center

Timeline:  Pending approval, the migration to the new platform will begin in 2011

Portal, Web, & Social Networking Enhancements

In late 2007, the OmniUpdate website Content Management System was acquired.  The District and three colleges worked for over a year reviewing content and redesigning the college and District websites.  The goal was to develop modern looking sites having a common look and feel and common terminology.  User training was provided to campus personnel, and departments started maintaining their own content.  The websites do not incorporate links to any social networking sites that are often used by our students.

The District has implemented a portal that serves both employees and students.  The MyVCCCD portal provides self-service access to many resources in one online location.  The employee portal links to important resources, documents, forms to conduct district business, private links to individual personnel information including payroll, vacation, and sick leave records, and announcements of general interest.

Students have access to all registration options and fee payment through the portal.  A District provided email account from Google is provisioned for every student.  The portal includes a directory that lists all of the services for students available at the campus.  The portal provides links to the Learning Management System (Canvas) providing easy access to online courses.  Access to web-enhanced courses in the portal Course Studio system is also available.  Students can also now access library research databases remotely.

As stated in the recent Title V Cooperative grant that has been awarded to Ventura and Oxnard Colleges, "Enhancements to the portal and websites can improve efficiency, student engagement, and access to appropriate information and online services for all stakeholders."   The goal of the grant is to enhance the portal with new online services, reaching students through social networking modes, enable self-directed learning, and become a communications tool for reaching students.  Ongoing enhancements to the current portal will increase the District's online presence and improve services to students.

Students increasing use of mobile devices expands the definition of 'online'.  Providing mobile applications will provide students with increased services wherever they are online.

Benefits:

  • Incorporation of newly developed online services, including mobile device applications
  • Comprehensive information and support for self-directed learning
  • The portal will become a resource for communicating with students, augmenting traditional methods such as postal mail, email, and phone calls

Resources:  IT staff will work with the grant consultants on portal enhancements

Timeline:  The Title V Cooperative grant will continue for five years; mobile application needs analysis will begin in 2012

Reduce Annual IT Capital & Operational Expenditures

The District has invested significantly in the IT infrastructure.  This includes funding from multiple sources, including the Measure 'S' bond, District and college Technology Refresh, New Technology funds, and ongoing operating budgets.

With the current state of the economy, and yearly budget uncertainties in state funding, it is imperative that all IT funds are used wisely and judiciously.  The challenge will be to maintain and expand services with reduced resources.

The IT Department has completed a number of initiatives that save the District in both capital and operational outlays.  Beginning in 2007, major equipment acquisitions were consolidated into an annual refresh cycle, resulting in savings of over $500,000 in three years.  In 2008, IT partnered with Southern California Edison and participated in two major incentive programs, resulting in estimated annual savings of over $100,000 per year in electricity costs.  In 2009, IT began an audit of telecommunications costs, and concurrently began participating in the California Teleconnect Fund program, resulting in approximately $100,000 savings in telecomm costs.

Additional savings in telecomm can be achieved through system and network changes.   It is estimated that an additional $100,000 in annual savings can be realized with a change in the telecomm and data network design that will result in reduced charges for leased phone company circuits.

Implementation of desktop and application virtualization, and identity management, will allow moving to a centralized computing model using lower cost devices that will replace traditional PCs.  Thin-client devices also have a much longer lifecycle, twice that of a personal computer.  They reduce maintenance time for technicians, potentially mitigating the need for additional staffing.  These initiatives will result in lower annual capital expenditures for technology refresh.  It will have the potential for software license and maintenance consolidation, which would yield additional annual savings.

Benefits

  • Lower operational costs for utilities (power and telecommunications)
  • Lower initial capital costs for desktop / classroom computing
  • Longer life for classroom equipment with lower maintenance costs

Resources:  Efforts will continue to increase efficiencies and reduce operational costs

Timeline:  The various project timelines are included in other sections of this report

Reduce Reliance on Consulting and Contract Services

Since the implementation of Banner in 1999, the District has contracted with Strata Information Group (SIG) to provide subject matter expertise and project management services for Banner and related systems.  This relationship has allowed the District to stay current in the use of Banner.  The District hired two Sr. Programmer Analyst positions in 2007 to begin the process of bringing most support for Banner in-house.  In the first two years, the positions were focused on implementation of important new technologies (the portal, distance learning, and numerous other initiatives).

The focus has now shifted to in-house support of the Banner system.  This has helped reduce annual expenditures for ongoing SIG support from $600,000 to $420,000.

As the District strives towards self-reliance of Banner applications/software, there will be a need for additional developers and eventually a manager over this specific area.  The resources currently allotted for professional experts will be shifted and will cover the costs of staff, salary and benefits.  Three to four new positions are anticipated by 2014.

Benefits:

  • More resources for internal software development and maintenance
  • Greater control over systems
  • Ability to respond more quickly to changes in requirements
  • Reduced operational expenditures

Resources: New IT staff will be needed to replace existing professional experts, reducing annual expenditures.

Timeline:  The budget reductions will continue through 2014; staff new hires will occur as funding reductions take place

Safety Initiatives

In response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, the District Information Technology and Police departments began evaluating options for improving campus safety for students, faculty and staff.  After months of evaluating various technologies and options, a plan was presented to the Board of Trustees to fund multiple safety initiatives. With $1.9 Million in funding approved in March of 2008, VCCCD personnel moved forward with its plans.  These included:

  • Implementing a mass notification system to provide text and voice messaging, email, instant messaging, and other forms of mass communications
  • Implement an on-campus warning system (large speaker system)
  • Upgrading the radio systems for safety personnel to improve coverage and quality
  • Upgrading phone system to provide Enhanced 911 (E-911) services on campus
  • Expanding emergency blue-light phones into parking lots that did not already have them
  • Acquire equipment and supplies for emergency situations, including for operation of Emergency Operations Centers
  • Improve video surveillance capabilities on campus for real-time monitoring of key areas
  • Set up of a disaster recovery data center for critical business systems

All but the video surveillance project have been completed.  That project is projected to be completed by the end of 2011.  Expansion of the system will be mapped out for the next five years.

Additional needs are being reviewed.  An indoor broadcast system for classrooms and offices are needed.  And access control systems for new and existing facilities will need to be addressed as a future initiative.

Ongoing training on usage of the systems will continue to be a high priority.

Benefits:

  • Capability to warn both remote and on-campus students, faculty, and staff about current situations at a college facility
  • Improved communications systems for campus police, first responders, and students
  • Increased capability for campus police to monitor situations in real-time
  • Supplies and equipment available to set up an Emergency Operations Center

Resources: The safety efforts will require ongoing IT assistance to maintain the systems

Timeline:  Training and process changes will be ongoing

Service Management and Delivery Enhancements

The colleges and District can improve Information Technology customer service by augmenting the Help Desk operations in several ways. These improvements include:

(1)Extending service by adding hours of staff coverage during peak periods to include weekends and weekday evenings (2)Adding self-service functionality to the Help Desk web site (3)Building a 24x7 FAQ database or wiki to provide answers to commonly asked questions and guidance and procedures on common activities -- including future enhancements such as responding to questions from the user community (4)Consolidation of help desk operations to provide a more consistent triage, support assignment, communication path, and accountability for both users and support staff (5)Implementation of applicable portions of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to facilitate a more uniform support experience and define accountability via Service Level Agreements (SLA).

Benefits:

  • Better meet the expectations of the user community
  • Better prepare, support and engage students, faculty and staff
  • Create more confident users
  • Reduce frustrations and individual downtime
  • Increase productivity, capability and working conditions
  • Make Information Technology support services easier to access

Resources:   IT Staff time will be required to implement process changes, but the overall impact should not be significant; Funding requirements will be minimal

Timeline:   Enhancements to coverage and changes to help desk operations will begin in 2012 and be ongoing; ITIL process implementation would begin in 2013

Standardize Classroom Technologies

With over two hundred smart classrooms in service, and dozens more in development with Measure S classroom expansion in new facilities, the District has made a long-term commitment of investing in classroom technology as a tool to enhance the delivery of instructional content. With the recent adoption and deployment of an integrated management system for the audio-visual system, the District has enhanced its capacity to effectively manage these resources in a more proactive fashion.

The current standard smart classroom includes:

  • Audio-visual control system
  • Projector
  • Desktop computer
  • Integrated voice amplification for lectures where necessary
  • Input for laptop computer
  • Media player (VHS, DVD and/or Blu-Ray)
  • Document camera
  • Wired and wireless network access

Benefits:

  • Consistent capabilities and user experience for faculty
  • Predetermined operational schedules for AV equipment prolongs projector bulb life 
  • Dramatically reduces unnecessary power consumption
  • Proactive maintenance of equipment through central console alerts
  • Standardized user interface/control panel throughout all smart classrooms

Resources:

Timeline:

Training for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Training is a key component in the effective use of technology.  With the rapid pace of change in technology, it is difficult for employees to keep pace with the latest available software and online services.

Each of the colleges has an Instructional Technologist responsible for providing training and support for faculty.  The colleges provide faculty training for online instruction through flex workshops and other staff development activities as well as individual help on an as-needed basis.   Each college has a faculty / staff resource center where hands-on guided instruction can take place.  In addition, there are areas adjacent to the resource centers where the Instructional Technologist can work one-on-one with faculty to provide training and support.

Deployments of new technology or upgrades to existing technology include training components for employees and students (where applicable).

New students are provided training on using the portal during course orientation meetings.  Online documentation is provided for self-help on using the portal and the Desire2Learn course management system.

The District has contracted with multiple vendors to provide online, self-paced training modules for many software applications.  These online services provide web-based, self-paced lessons on dozens of software packages and technologies. Online training modules are made available to all employees via the portal.

The self-paced training model is cost-effective, but greater awareness is needed on the availability and use of online tools.  A marketing effort will be undertaken and training workshops will offered to all staff.

Hands-on training workshops will be offered for staff.  These workshops will be brief in format, and will integrate with the modules available online.

Benefits:

  • Skilled workforce
  • Improved collaboration
  • Reduced help-desk calls
  • Smoother technology rollouts

Resources: Online training services are funded by the District Wide Services budget for IT

Timeline:  Training efforts will be ongoing

Unified Communications

The current phone systems use traditional legacy technology, including analog and digital phone sets, voice mail systems, and leased circuits for inter-campus communication.  The manufacturer of the current systems, Nortel, filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and subsequently was acquired by Avaya.

The current systems are reliable but costly to maintain, and will be phased out by Avaya in favor of their newer voice platforms.

More robust communications technologies have emerged in recent years that provide Unified Communications (UC).  One such system is from Microsoft, a product called Lync.  Through existing Campus Agreements with Microsoft, the District already owns the licenses for the Lync system.  The benefits of the system are listed below.

In conjunction with implementing UC, IT is looking at a network redesign that will eliminate a number of circuits leased from the phone company. When the new phone system had been implemented and the circuit reductions are complete, the operational savings are estimated to be over $100,000 per year.

Benefits:

  • Licenses for system already owned
  • Lower cost to maintain than traditional phone system
  • Integrated audio, video, and Web conferencing helps reduce travel costs
  • Green initiative – less time spent driving between sites
  • Powerful voice-enabled self-service applications 
  • Instant messaging
  • Integration of voice mail with email system, with transcription
  • Reduces technician time moving, adding, or changing phones
  • Capability to add call centers for shared services

Resources: IT staff requirements will be significant during the migration; funding for needed hardware will come from multiple sources

Timeline:  The project will begin in 2011 and be completed by 2013

Appendix A. Governance Structure

District Advisory Groups

Advisory groups are formed by the Chancellor to provide feedback on specific aspects of District functions. To accomplish the charge of the group, the Chancellor appoints members to advisory groups based on the need to create balanced, representative groups of individuals who are in the best position to provide feedback on that specific area of operation.

All Information Technology committees are classified as advisory groups.

Administrative Technology Advisory Committee

The Administrative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) advises the Chancellor on technology planning and priority setting for all technologies not used in the teaching/learning process, including Banner enhancements. Such activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Evaluating and prioritizing tasks, including implementation timelines and the identification of needed resources;  
  • Setting priorities for fiscal and staff resources; and
  • Making recommendations to revise business processes and functionalities to improve procedures and productivity.

Ad hoc committees are assigned specific components of projects as needed.

The Chancellor's designee to convene this advisory committee is the District Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Technology. The suggested membership from the District is:

  • Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services 
  • Vice Chancellor of Human Resources 
  • Director of Administrative Relations 
  • District Information Technology Project Support Staff

The suggested membership from each College is:

  • Executive Vice President of Student Learning 
  • Vice President of Business Services

This group meets monthly during the academic year on the first Thursday.

Distance Learning Task Force

The Distance Learning Task Force (DLTF) advises the Chancellor, through the Administrative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), on issues, policies, and needs of the District and the constituent Colleges in the area of technologies needed for teaching and learning including, but not limited to:

  • Coordination and implementation of District and College distance education plans, and 
  • Policies and procedures to sustain the distance education activities within the District.

Recommendations on topics within the 10 plus one areas identified in Assembly Bill 1725 are referred to the College Curriculum Committees or the Colleges' Academic Senates for approval and action in accordance with operating agreements of District governance.

The Chancellor's designee to convene this advisory committee is the District Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, and the suggested membership from each College is:

Executive Vice President of Student Learning

Academic Senate President

Faculty Member appointed by each Academic Senate

This group meets monthly on an as needed basis throughout the academic year.

Additional Advisory Groups

The Banner Student Project Group meets monthly to discuss and prioritize tasks related to the Student module of the Banner system.

The Luminis Core Group meets monthly to review and prioritize tasks and enhancements related to the MyVCCCD portal.

Each of the colleges has a technology committee structure in place to deal with campus computing issues.

* * *

Mission & Vision | Strategic Goals & Objectives | Strategic Initiatives