March 5,1998

Entering a new era

John Woodrow
Director of Instructional and Information Technology Services

In a move that is occurring in more and more universities, the Computing Services Department and Audio Visual Department recently merged into a single unit, renamed Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS).
There are a number of factors which make this merger a logical approach to improving overall services. Convergence of technology has seen the Audio Visual Department increasingly involved in using computers, or taking computer issues into account, in the areas of video and sound production, classroom technology and learning labs.
At the same time, Computing Services has found itself involved more and more in non-traditional uses of computers that parallelled the work going on in AV. The growing interest in distance and open learning has led both groups to be increasingly involved with possible uses of the World Wide Web, e-mail, groupware, etc., as tools to enhance teaching.
Coupled with this convergence of technologies, the recent retirement of Mark Schofield, Director of the Audio Visual Department, made it time to try to realize greater administrative efficiencies by combining the two departments under a single director and administrative support team.
The locations of the respective units have not changed, but work is underway to strengthen the focus of the previously separate units with a single set of goals and priorities. The main areas being examined currently are how to improve the development and support of open and distance learning, how to improve the infrastructure of classroom and cinema technology on both campuses, and how to ensure the right mix of services reaching students and faculty.
Naturally, the many existing services, such as MIS support, telephone systems, equipment depots and computer labs will continue.
The overall goal of IITS is the effective support of learning, and the staff of the department believe that technology has a significant role to play. It is a challenge with budget cutbacks and growing demand, but it is hoped that with perhaps some support from the Capital Campaign fund, the right combination of partnerships, and some good planning and hard work, IITS will be able to deliver.

Copyright 1998 Thursday Report
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