Office of the Provost

Memorandum

To: Pittsburgh Campus Deans
From: James V. Maher
Date: November 11, 2002

Classroom Wireless Installations

At a recent Council of Deans meeting, I spoke briefly about the development of a wireless standard for the University and the process for implementing wireless solutions within classrooms and class labs. I am writing now to provide a more detailed description of the process.

I am asking the Classroom Management Team to assume general responsibility for the approval of wireless networks within instructional spaces under the direct scheduling control of the Registrar’s Office. The CMT will determine in which classrooms such an approach is feasible and appropriate. Within Registrar-controlled classrooms, the cost of all wireless installations, both installation and monthly fees, will be charged against the student technology fee. This approach is consistent with that taken for the installation of network connections within classrooms.

The CMT may also receive requests from the deans of academic units for the installation of wireless networks within specific classrooms or class labs, including those that are departmentally-controlled or Registrar-controlled. Such requests should provide a description of the pedagogical approach that justifies the installation, with an explanation of the assessment techniques that will be utilized to determine impact on instruction. The CMT will review the merits of these requests and recommend to me whether the wireless installation and maintenance should be approved against the student technology fee. The CMT, in making its determination, will be guided solely by its judgment of the impact on instruction. As in all its decisions involving classroom expenditures, the CMT will base its priorities upon the number of students positively impacted.

Deans may, independent of the CMT, install wireless networks within classrooms or class labs, including those controlled by the Registrar or by specific departments, or within any general spaces or facilities within the unit. Such general areas include local libraries, common work spaces, or public areas. They should first obtain agreement from CSSD as to the feasibility of such installations. The charges for these installations, both in terms of initial cost and monthly utilization fees, are the sole responsibility of the academic unit. This distribution of cost recognizes the expense involved in installing and maintaining wireless networks, which should not be viewed as a lower cost alternative to wired networks.

It is important that we utilize wireless technologies in ways that take advantage of its specific capabilities to provide mobility or network access in areas otherwise inaccessible.

c: Sam Conte
Jinx Walton

JVM/RFP/slb

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