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7. Hardware infrastructure and support

7.1 Student access to facilities

7.2 Assistive Technology

7.3 Remote access, use of personal equipment

7.4 Staff provision

7.5 Classroom resources

7.6 Video conferencing

7.7 Maintenance and Support

7.1 Student access to facilities

As C&IT impacts on learning & teaching material and delivery, it becomes the University’s responsibility to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by poor access to appropriate resources.

To this end, the University will invest in hardware and infrastructure services as part of annual costed plans so that:

From time to time DIT will publish guidelines that define the standards of service, and standards of user behaviour, which are considered acceptable.

The pattern of demand will be monitored, and access provided to match this pattern, within resource constraints. There will be no unreasonable restriction of ‘out-of-hours’ access. Presently, a significant number of computer labs, and the whole of the network, are available continuously (24 hours a day).

This access should be continued and extended.

The spread of access points to libraries, accommodation owned by or managed on behalf of the University and other relevant venues should continue.

7.2 Assistive Technology

The University will ensure that disabled staff and students experience equality of access to C&IT provision and maintenance of relevant hardware and software in all computer classrooms as well as the installation, maintenance and arrangement of access to equipment and software appropriate to needs.

7.3 Remote access, use of personal equipment

As the appropriate hardware becomes available at reasonable cost, more students may wish to access University resources using their own equipment (e.g. laptop PCs equipped with network cards, modems, or wireless communication facilities). The University will not unreasonably deter students from acquiring and using this hardware, and, within the constraints imposed by available resources and security requirements, will enable reasonably priced and simple access to the University facilities both onsite and from remote locations.

Development of interoperable remote access systems will be pursued as part of a wider access policy (see also 2.1.2, Student Portal).

7.4 Staff provision

Resources will be allocated to provide staff with personal computing equipment commensurate with their University teaching and learning duties. From time to time DIT will publish information on minimum recommended configurations for typical applications. These guidelines will form a basis for assessing staff requirement.

7.5 Classroom resources

Appropriate presentation and demonstration facilities should be matched to classroom use, and provided as appropriate. All lecture theatres and large seminar rooms are already equipped with network access, PC, audio, video and data projection equipment. This provision will be maintained and upgraded, as appropriate. The present rolling programme of installing such facilities in smaller classrooms, teaching laboratories and any classroom that is being refurbished will continue. A stock of portable audio-visual equipment will be maintained to enable the use of audio-visual facilities in those classrooms without permanent installations.

In specialist classrooms (labs, demonstration rooms) appropriate practice facilities for students should also be provided.

7.6 Video conferencing

The University will provide video conferencing facilities for use in lectures, seminars, tutorials, discussions etc. where it is not convenient for all participants to attend in the same place.

For example, this can be used to support:

The University will examine the implications of establishing desktop videoconferencing services to support specific learning requirements (for example 2.4. Distance Learning).

7.7 Maintenance and Support

Maintenance should be adequate to support the level of access outlined in the preceding paragraphs.

The Helpdesk facility should be further developed and extended to provide staff, as well as students (see 5.3), with a swift resolution to hardware and software problems.

The University will continue to provide central support to maintain and set up audio-visual equipment in support of learning and teaching, and to advise and assist staff and students using this equipment. This support will be provided through the existing Audio Visual Unit (AVU) and, at the Medical School, the Department of Medical Illustration, or through their named and resourced successors.

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