How to Measure IT Success on Campus

A key challenge facing campus IT shops is measuring the effectiveness of technology programs.

Most security threats at colleges start with the viruses students bring to campus on their notebook PCs. It’s up to IT staffs to contain the contagion.

My family lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., but my brother and I left there for the Chicago suburbs two decades ago. He and his wife have five remarkable daughters—all under age 10. After each visit, I come home with homemade cards, knock-knock jokes, hugs and some mild but annoying contagion. Kids are walking petri dishes and are adept at passing their viruses on to anyone nearby, including me. College students are no different, but they pass on a different type of virus.

No one knows better than campus IT staff the cyberhorrors each session break brings. After a summer of bolstering the campus network, IT staff must deal with thousands of students who return with computers infected with viruses, spyware and other infectious cybermischief. Just when those computers get wiped clean, the cycle repeats itself, starting with Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, spring break and trips home. It ends only with graduation.

IT administrators don't get a break. Most security threats start with students, so Trey Short of Illinois Wesleyan equips them with threat diagnostic tools and training at move-in time. For more on how Illinois Wesleyan combined host and network intrusion detection with end-user education , turn to page 44.

Yet students are what colleges and universities are built to serve. In the department Pedagogy & IT Practice, we'll show you innovative ways that IT staffs are working to encourage student participation and learning around technology. In our premiere issue, we're spotlighting Wake Forest University on the cover and on page 17.

One key challenge facing campus IT shops isn't putting security in place or weaving technology into the fabric of the educational enterprise, but determining the effectiveness of those technology programs in regard to institutional goals. CDW•G has heard repeatedly that managing by anecdote rather than by metrics happens too often. It's a troublesome phenomenon that's running rampant on campuses.

To combat that problem, we're delivering a magazine with a best practices approach for technology practitioners in the CIO's office and departments throughout the campus. You'll find solid metrics, lessons learned, and insights from administrative and procurement leaders. The mission of Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Education is to provide insights for IT leaders—not just on how to implement technology, but also on how to measure, communicate and evolve technology leadership in the campus environment.

THESE STUDENTS WANT A HAND UP—NOT A HANDOUT.

Purchase a raffle ticket and help SUNY Orange students implement a wireless campus. You may win a genuine Orange County Chopper.

The students at SUNY Orange County Community College want a campus without wires. Rather than ask for donations, gifts or endowments, students in the computing, marketing and accounting clubs launched the SUNY Orange Chopper Raffle 2005.

1ST PRIZE: Custom-built motorcycle supplied by Orange County Choppers
2ND PRIZE: IBM ThinkPad notebook supplied by CDW•G
3RD PRIZE: $500 cash

Purchase tickets through PayPal for only $5 each. If you buy 4 tickets, you'll get the 5th FREE. These prizes are purchased by the students, as part of their efforts to fund the wireless installation themselves. No gifts or donations will be accepted.

Help SUNY Orange implement a wireless campus. Visit www.sunyorangeraffle.org/index.html for more information and to order tickets.

All proceeds from this raffle will go toward installation of a wireless network on the campus of SUNY Orange County Community College.

The drawing will be held on April 8, 2006. Tickets are available only at the raffle site.

Lee Copeland is editor in chief of EdTech.

Oct 31 2006

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