Administrative Procedure 142

TECHNICAL STANDARDS

Background

In order to implement a consistent and progressive technology direction for the Division, a set of standards must be followed. Division standards will help provide an information technology base that is “cost-effective, maintainable, and sustainable.”

Installation of hardware and software is only a small percentage of the total cost of ownership. As indicated by industry data research groups such as Ziff-Davis and DataQuest, the capital cost of the purchase of a computer system represents about one-third (1/3) of the total cost of ownership. The remaining costs include maintenance, support, and in-service training.

As we do not have the level of funding available in education as does the business world, we must be more careful in setting and maintaining technology standards to minimize technical support costs and maximize the use of technical support personnel. Providing technical support for non-approved hardware/software would increase troubleshooting time. We all pay for that troubleshooting time.

Advantages in following standards include the:

  • Ability to share data and information across the Division.
  • Ability to better utilize limited funds for purchasing and support.
  • Reduction of technical support time required.
  • Reduction in training costs.
  • Focused investment of limited funds.

It is recognized that each school has differing needs and desires in pursuing individual technology directions that may or may not be in alignment with the Division’s overall plan. These may include purchases of non-standard hardware and software. These varied directions may be worthwhile themselves, but would not assist the overall plan as they would be more costly in terms of support time, money and training.

Procedures

The following are Division standards:

  1. Hardware
    1. When a school site budget permits purchasing of new equipment to be installed on a school’s Local Area Network (LAN), (i.e. workstations, printers, scanners, etc.), it must be done through an approval process in conjunction with Division Technology personnel. The Division recommends and will provide technical support for the hardware platforms recommended by the Southern Alberta Computer consortium as well as the latest Macintosh models. Pricing information may be obtained from Division Office.

  2. Software
    1. Up-grades for networking, operating system, utility, and application software are available on a continuing basis from software vendors. Standards necessitate caution when deciding to up-grade. Due to limited funding and limited technical support personnel, Division schools cannot afford to up-grade to the latest versions until there is a strong educational or administrative case for such.
    2. To maintain consistency and reduce potential problems, thorough testing will be done at a designated test site before any software up-grading is implemented throughout the Division. When a school site budget permits purchasing of a new networking, administrative system, or application software to be installed on a school’s LAN, it must be done through an approval process in conjunction with Division Technology personnel.

  3. Software Installation
    1. Computer networks are intricate. As such, they require continual maintenance and support. Each piece of a computer system-hardware, operating system, network operating system, and application software interact in a complex way. Major and minor software conflicts have the potential to bring the network to a halt. Thus, to reduce possible problems, standards must be in place for software installation and maintenance.
    2. Only designated personnel must install software on Division schools’ networks. Networking, operating system and network application software must be installed, up-graded and maintained by Division technical support personnel. 
      1. Any exceptions to this would require approval from Division technical support personnel. 
        Non-network application software on individual machines may be installed by the school’s designated technology co-ordinator or by Division personnel, depending on the circumstances. 
      2. Teachers not acting as a school’s technology co-ordinator, Specialist on Site (SOS), must not install software for personal or school use.

  4. Maintenance of Computer Systems
    1. Decisions must be made about the delineation of responsibilities between a school’s SOS person and Division personnel as to maintenance issues, taking into consideration the varied technical skills available at each school site.
    2. The Division will provide technology support and replacement of existing LAN equipment as needed. 
      1. If a Principal wants to expand beyond the initial LAN configuration at the school, the hardware cost will be borne by the school, (i.e. wiring coasts, cabling, servers, hubs, etc., the Division will provide the labour of wire drops). 
      2. Division technology and maintenance personnel will provide technical support and installation of this new equipment. 
      3. Once this new equipment becomes part of school’s LAN, Division technical support staff will provide the same level of support and maintenance as with the existing LAN.
    3. Standards sometimes represent compromises and personal trade-offs. However, if the Division is to maintain an efficient, cost-effective, and consistent system, to help address the total cost of technology ownership throughout the Division the implementation of technology standards is essential.

  5. Hardware/Software Purchases in Schools
    1. The Principal shall fax a draft purchase order to the Superintendent.
    2. In consultation with the Division’s technical support team, the Superintendent will sign and return the fax to the school.
    3. The Division’s technical support team will receive a copy of the draft purchase order.
  6. Technical Support in Schools
    1. To receive technical support, a completed service request form is to be faxed to Division Office.
    2. The Division Technical Support team will notify the Principal of an anticipated response time and date.
    3. The Division Technical Support team will complete the service request form upon completion of support.
       

Reference

Section 18,33,52,53,68,196,197,204,222,225 Education Act

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadian Criminal Code

Copyright Act

I.T.I.L. Standards, Alberta Education

ATA Code of Professional Conduct

 

Approved: December 10, 1998

Amended: February 11, 1999; August 21, 2018