Computing Labs - Service Guidelines

Last Updated: 02/19/2018

Introduction

The University of Colorado at Boulder provides teaching and learning computing labs in support of the Office of Information Technology’s primary academic mission. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) manages many of these sites in order to maximize the University's investment in computing resources and make computing tools accessible to students. Our goal is to deliver operational labs for the largest possible number of students by providing reliable computing platforms with a full set of basic functions (communications, document generation, etc.). In addition, system functionality can be extended by including discipline-specific tools where appropriate, practical, and technically supportable.

OIT has drafted the following guidelines for lab management, maintenance, and support. These guidelines enable the University to provide consistent service within available resources to an ever increasing number of users. It is not necessary, nor is it always practical, for OIT to manage and support a facility. In these cases, management of the computing lab will be the responsibility of the department. If a lab is managed and maintained by OIT, OIT will have final decision authority for that facility. While decisions will be made with departmental input, it is necessary that authority be commensurate with the responsibility for operating and maintaining the site. See an example Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a department housing an OIT lab for specific requirements.

Academic departments will determine the curricular requirements of the facilities where appropriate and OIT will make determinations regarding the configuration and operation of individual computing sites based on these curricular requirements, technical factors, and resource availability. For labs not directly associated with a particular school or college, OIT will represent the needs of students. Curricular requirements of faculty sometimes require the use of removable media and OIT will not be held responsible for lost data or damage to media used by faculty or students in OIT labs.

Key Concepts

  • Computing systems are a valuable University of Colorado resource and must be managed effectively.
  • Funding is provided through departmental fees and/or OIT central funds.
  • OIT possesses the expertise and resources to manage installations of multiple systems.
  • OIT possesses the expertise to make judgments regarding technical requirements and limitations.
  • Academic departments will determine the curricular requirements of computing facilities designed for their students.
  • OIT funding does not cover site improvements. The Department housing the facility is responsible for all site maintenance and improvements including renovations, heating, cooling, power, etc.
  • Final decision authority must rest with a single entity and should be commensurate with the level of responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the specific site.
  • The extent to which a system is customized or specialized limits the ability for it to be managed by a general service organization such as OIT.

Campus Computing Environment

The University is a very large organization with a wide variety of academic computing needs. Diverse computer applications create support challenges that must be met within limited resources. Computers in teaching and learning labs are used by many individuals and cannot be managed in the same manner as a dedicated system on an individual's desk. Computing resources are in great demand by students and access needs to be consistently maintained. While students may frequent a single facility, it is also common for students to use computing resources at multiple sites across campus. It is therefore necessary to maintain uniform tools and interfaces across OIT-maintained labs.

Scope of Guidelines Application

These guidelines apply to computing facilities that are owned by the University of Colorado and are located on the Boulder campus. These facilities are typically funded, fully or in part, by CU Boulder departments and/or Office of Information Technology and their use is open to current CU Boulder students, faculty, and staff.

Guideline Objectives

  • To provide faculty, students, and staff the best possible computing resources with the highest level of accessibility and stability.
  • To effectively manage the University's teaching and learning computing systems and maximize that investment.
  • To promote the use of technology in learning by providing appropriate academic computing tools.

Guideline Specifics

OIT management/maintenance of a student computing facility includes:

  1. Operating system maintenance and support, including installation, configuration and modification.
  2. Application software maintenance and support, including installation, configuration, and modification.
  3. Network installation and maintenance.
  4. Computer hardware installation, configuration and maintenance, including CPU's, monitors, printers and approved peripherals.
  5. Access control.
  6. Providing software updates/upgrades (standard suite software and operating system) within available resources.
  7. Providing remote system installation, management and support, including updates and upgrades.

OIT provides the above services when:

  1. The facility is managed and operated by OIT, and adheres to established use policies.
  2. The facility provides computing resources to a broad range of students.
  3. Students currently enrolled on the Boulder campus are not excluded from the facility.
  4. The facility accommodates OIT maintenance/management utilities and procedures.
  5. The facility is maintained appropriately by the hosting department including maintenance, improvements, and renovations.
  6. Use of the facility is scheduled through Academic Scheduling.
  7. IdentiKey or other OIT authentication and access control mechanisms are in place.

OIT maintains computing hardware when the equipment is:

  1. Originally purchased by OIT and on the OIT property inventory.
  2. Physically secured by OIT and is not moved or modified by any other person(s).
  3. Only standard computing hardware, including CPU, monitor, printer, and other hardware approved by OIT.
  4. Will be reallocated by OIT when the facility is upgraded, closed or the equipment is otherwise displaced.

OIT updates and maintains computing software when:

  1. The software was originally purchased by OIT or purchased with OIT approval.
  2. There will be adequate licenses purchased to cover all workstations in the facility.
  3. The software is the primary operating system or part of the standard software suite.
  4. The software is an integral and permanent part of the system installation.
  5. The software is not subject to modification by any other person(s).
  6. The software is available and useful to teaching and learning needs.
  7. The specific software version is approved for installation by OIT.
  8. There are funds available (OIT discretion).