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Compliance Certification Report
Comprehensive Standards 3.4.14

Last Updated August 13, 2004
(static edition)

Comprehensive Standards 3.4.14:

The institution’s use of technology enhances learning, is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs, and ensures that students have access to and training in the use of technology.

The Institution Certifies Compliance: Yes

Compliance report completed by: Audit Team 24

Statement of Rationale for Judgment of Compliance:

The University of Memphis has long recognized that information technology (IT) plays a central role in teaching, learning, and research. For two decades, computer literacy was a requirement for graduation. This requirement was met through successful completion of a computer literacy course or by passing a computer literacy examination. Beginning in the Fall of 2004, entering students are assumed to possess the necessary computer competency; thus, the computer literacy competency is no longer part of university graduation requirements.

The 1997 implementation of TAF (Technology Access Fees) provided the university with the resources needed to assure students had access to current technology. [1] TAF supports nearly 60 labs; [2] all hardware in those labs is updated on a three-year cycle. TAF also provides software site-licenses for commonly used programs in all of these labs and seat-licenses for specialized software in labs managed by academic departments. [3] In addition, about 60 TAF-funded classrooms (Smartrooms) [4] enable instructor-led applications of technology in learning and another 50 Smartcarts [5] provide portable instructional technology to other classrooms. Moreover, 13 mobile laptop carts (some containing as many as 36 computers) enable rapid creation of a computer lab or classroom, permitting students to participate in the use of the technology.

Complementing these hardware and software resources, the university network is a robust Ethernet bus design with automated account creation for students and faculty, providing “hardwired” access to both Internet-1 and Internet-2 services. It also provides Internet-1 services in UofM's wireless network design, which now includes all academic buildings and will soon be expanded to the entire campus (indoor and outdoor).

Collectively, these resources enable faculty to provide instruction in the use of technology and to use the technology to enhance learning and research. An increasing number of the university’s courses are now technology-enhanced via specific websites created by faculty or by using WebCT, the university’s supported course management software. In the spring of 2004, 300 courses utilized WebCT, up from 250 in the spring of 2003. [6]

In 2002, the university adopted the National Academy of Science goal [7] of graduating “technology fluent” students in every discipline. A special faculty task force has created a framework [8] within which each department can create “FITness” requirements specific to the disciplines in that department as recommended by the National Science Foundation.  

As described in response to Comprehensive Standard 3.8.2, [9] students can obtain help with technology in a variety of ways. Element K provides self-paced instruction in the use of various packages and advanced technology concepts such as relational database design. [10] The Advanced Learning Center (ALC) offers courses in the use of technology for both students and faculty. [11] Lab assistants help students with specific problems in one-on-one sessions, while faculty provide instruction in class.

The 2003 opening of the FedEx Institute of Technology [12] provides students with the most current technology for learning through both instruction and research. The research activities within the institute integrate technology with instruction through the application of theories learned in academic courses and their use in the solutions to applied problems.

Faculty TAF grants [13] have funded faculty members interested in using technology to enhance instruction since 1996. Currently, the faculty TAF Grant program is emphasizing the use of technology to provide “deep learning” of complex and subtle concepts.

Each year students are asked to describe their levels of satisfaction with the technology (especially TAF labs) provided. Results for 2003/2004, for example, indicate high levels of satisfaction with the number of labs available and with the provided software. [14] Each year’s results are used by the Information Technology Division to further enhance the technology infrastructure in support of learning.

Relevant Organizational Unit(s):

Vice President for Information Technology

Supporting Documentation and Evidence:

[1] TAF Expenditures by Year/Category FY98 – FY04
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[2] List of TAF-supported and Departmental Labs (in red)
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Software Provided through TigerLAN

Software Licenses Purchased, FY2004

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[4] Smartclassrooms at the UofM, as of July 2004
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[5] Smartcarts at the UofM, as of July 2004
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[6] WebCT Statistics
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[7] Executive Summary, Being Fluent With Information Technology, National Academy Press, 1999
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[8] Meeting the Challenge: Achieving Information Fluency at the UofM
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[9] UofM Response to Comprehensive Standard 3.8.2
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[10] List of Courses Available Through Element K, Summer 2004
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[11] The Advanced Learning Center ( visit the live www site )
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[12] "The University of Memphis Unveils FedEx Institute of Technology, a Pioneering Research Center," UofM Press Release, November 19, 2003
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[13] UofM TAF Awards 2004-05 Request for Proposals
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[14] TAF 2003/2004 Student Survey Results
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