SCENARIO: You manage a computer lab on your college campus. It is the middle of the semester, near the time most mid-term papers are due and the lab…
SCENARIO: You manage a computer lab on your college campus. It is the middle of the semester, near the time most mid-term papers are due and the lab is currently in heavy use. You have been tasked with writing a proposal to obtain the funds to upgrade the lab’s current equipment.
This lab is equipped for 12 students; equipment includes very old CPUs with limited memory and RAM; relatively new monitors purchased in the last five years; relatively new peripheral equipment, including mice and keyboards; and six printers, 1 of which is relatively new, two of which rarely work, and three that work sometimes but not others.
The computers use an old version of Microsoft Office that is no longer supported by Microsoft. The university does have enterprise-wide licenses available for the latest version of Microsoft Office for Students but the IT department requires at least two weeks’ notice to transfer licenses into any department.
The lab is heavily used by students who mainly use it to write term papers and complete Internet-based coursework. The slow Internet connection, delayed technical performance, outdated software, and paper jams are a constant source of frustration for students, who complain widely about this situation both in the lab and in more public areas, such as the student dining hall. Additionally, the lab is a drain on Help Desk resources, who claim that 2 out of every 5 calls originate from this lab, and fixes require at least 6 hours of time per week. The Help Desk spends its time resolving minor issues such as dropped Internet connections, lost data due to lack of RAM/memory, the removal of viruses and malware downloaded by students, and fix printer paper jams. Regardless of the issue, the Help Desk “bills” $30/hour for each hour it spends in the lab.
The laboratory is currently outfitted with PC machines. The university already has an enterprise-wise license for the latest version of Microsoft Office for Students. However, virus/malware protection is outdated.
Your proposal should include the following:
· A fully considered, realistic plan for making the laboratory more useful to students. This should include a recommendation to replace or maintain the equipment, as well as a suggested schedule for doing so. All pros and cons should be considered of the suggested approach, or should be used as justification to support your point of view.
· For any equipment purchases, a brief cost/benefit analysis that utilizes realistic pricing information from a credible source (cite your source). The laboratory is currently outfitted with PC machines.
· The cost/benefit analysis should consider the advantages and disadvantages of any upgrade you suggest; one-time cost and any recurring costs that may be required, as well as tangible and intangible benefits. Pros/cons cited might include temporary disruption to the student vs. access to working equipment; impact on Help Desk resources that can be used elsewhere on campus; goodwill toward the university from students, etc.