Whether you think Information Technology Services should make more computers available on campus or you want to voice a complaint, now is your time to let Yale’s technology center know what’s on your mind.
A new survey put out by ITS today will give students the opportunity to comment on everything from campus computing facilities to computer assistants. ITS uses the feedback it receives to track technology trends in the student population, find out what hardware and software students prefer, and improve services like computer kiosks and residential college computer assisting.
Every year ITS publishes a similar anonymous student survey and distributes it to undergraduates all over campus to get feedback on its services. In past years the survey has only been available on paper but this year it is also being made available online at www.yale.edu/sc/survey.
“Our goal is to figure out areas where we can make improvements,” said David Davies, manager of student computing and student services for ITS. “Most of the time, students don’t usually go out of their way to reach ITS unless they have a complaint. With the survey, however, people who have ideas and suggestions can easily get them across to us.”
With the data collected from the survey, ITS can determine trends such as which e-mail program is most popular amongst students. If it turns out that more people prefer Microsoft Outlook, for example, then ITS will try to make information about that e-mail program more available to students. If it is also determined that students want more highly specialized equipment and programs at computer clusters, then ITS may provide more hardware like scanners and new software programs.
Students can complete this survey until April 16. The survey will be available in print at campus locations such as Commons and the ITS building on Whitney Avenue
Another goal of the survey is to inform students of some of ITS’s services that may not be known to them. For instance, the survey points out that the Norton AntiVirus program now can be freely downloaded at www.yale.edu/software/microsoft and that discounted versions of Microsoft Office and FrontPage are also available to students on the network.
“To provide the most effective technology services to students we want to know what they are doing with information technology and what’s important to them,” ITS Director Philip Long said.
A new question on the survey this year asks students whether they own cellular phones or Palm Pilots and other personal digital assistants. Davies said if enough students use hand-held devices, then ITS will consider adding new applications to computing kiosks through which students can upload and download materials for Palm Pilots and cell phones. ITS is also considering giving students the option of listing their cell phone numbers and making Yale’s Web pages available to cell phones with limited Internet browser capabilities.
As an added bonus this year and as a way to get a greater turnout, all students who fill out a survey will be entered into a raffle, with the first-place winner getting a $250 gift certificate, Davies said.
Francis Zangari ’02 said he plans to fill out the survey.
“I don’t really have any complaints with ITS but I do have a few ideas on new services they could add,” Zangari said. “Yale Webmail and the computers in the clusters play a big role in my academics so I’m glad to know that ITS is monitoring their services and trying to keep us happy. Now if they could only bring back Napster I’d be completely satisfied.”