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									RMIT University




ICT Plan to 2010
Information & Communications Technology




March 17, 2008 Version 11.1 – Final Version
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Table of Contents
1    PREAMBLE.................................................................................................................................. 2

2    THE WAY FORWARD .................................................................................................................. 2

3    INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 4

4    GUIDING PRINCIPLES DRIVING THE ICT PLAN TO 2010......................................................... 5

5    THE OPERATING ENVIRONMENT ............................................................................................. 6

6    ICT PLAN TO 2010 GOALS ......................................................................................................... 8

7    EMERGING CHALLENGES ARISING FROM THE PLANNING PROCESS ................................ 9

    7.1    RESEARCH .............................................................................................................................. 9
    7.2    LEARNING AND TEACHING ......................................................................................................... 9
    7.3    GLOBAL UNIVERSITY ............................................................................................................... 10
    7.4    STUDENT EXPERIENCE............................................................................................................ 10
    7.5    STAFF EXPERIENCE ................................................................................................................ 10
    7.6    SUSTAINABILITY AND SUPPORT ............................................................................................... 11

8    ASPIRATIONS ........................................................................................................................... 12

9    MAP OF ICT PRIORITIES TO THE RMIT STRATEGIC PLAN................................................... 13

10 SUMMARY OF ICT ACTIONS .................................................................................................... 14

11 GOALS, STRATEGIES AND ACTIONS TO 2010 ...................................................................... 16

    11.1      GOAL 1 – RESEARCH .......................................................................................................... 16
    11.2      GOAL 2 – LEARNING AND TEACHING ..................................................................................... 17
    11.3      GOAL 3 – A GLOBAL UNIVERSITY ......................................................................................... 18
    11.4      GOAL 4 – STUDENT EXPERIENCE ......................................................................................... 19
    11.5      GOAL 5 – STAFF EXPERIENCE .............................................................................................. 20
    11.6      GOAL 6 – SUSTAINABILITY AND SUPPORT.............................................................................. 21

12 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................ 22

13 APPENDIX A – OPERATIONAL PRIORITIES FOR ITS ............................................................ 23

14 APPENDIX B – CONTRIBUTORS ............................................................................................. 24

15 APPENDIX C – ABBREVIATIONS AND DEFINITIONS ............................................................. 25

16 APPENDIX D – REVISION HISTORY ........................................................................................ 26




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1 Preamble
The RMIT University ICT Plan to 2010 is designed to encourage the ongoing improvement of
information and communications technology (ICT) in underpinning the activities and supporting the
mission, vision and values identified in the University‘s Strategic Plan, RMIT 2010: Designing the
Future. In particular this plan has been developed to facilitate the provision of quality education
and research that meets the demands of both students and staff working in a global environment.

The ICT Plan was also developed in support of the University Academic, Research, and Industry
plans and identifies the information technology goals, strategies and actions necessary to enable
those plans to be implemented. The ICT Plan to 2010 is divided into six goal areas:

      Research
      Learning and teaching
      Global university
      Student experience
      Staff experience
      Sustainability and support

This plan recognises the challenge of maintaining a stable ICT environment within Australia‘s
largest university of technology whilst at the same time encouraging innovation and increasing our
ability to respond to changing research, learning and teaching, and administrative requirements. It
also acknowledges the need for staff to experiment with ICT versus the students‘ requirement for a
consistent, informative and easy to use computing environment.

The prioritisation of new and emerging ICT requirements through academic, research and
administrative groups will be fundamental to the success of this plan, as is supporting fiscally
responsible initiatives that will improve RMIT as a whole.


2 The way forward
The pace of change in the university environment, and particularly in ICT, means that plans such
as this can only be part of a process of improvement. Even with the very best of intentions, aspects
of this plan will be outdated quite quickly. ICT does not stand outside the rest of the university
community, but acts as an enabler, both supporting and challenging students and staff to
undertake their work, and to think differently about it, using new and emerging technologies to try
different, innovative approaches to teaching, learning and research. The ICT planning process
continues to be an iterative journey therefore.

Throughout the development of this plan many issues, ideas, suggestions and recommendations
have been made which require the university to think hard about some of its most basic practices
as it moves further into the twenty first century. Some of these, such as the most appropriate size
of lecture groups, or methods of assessment and feedback to students, are beyond the scope of
this ICT Plan, nor are they the responsibility of ITS to address, but they do have implications for the
future which are not altogether clear. A summary of the findings from the discussions with key
stakeholders about these issues is outlined later in the plan and ITS will need direction from the
relevant committees or executive on how its contribution to these is best made.




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In order to keep pace with the speed of change and to develop mechanisms where issues such as
these might be addressed it will be necessary to:



1. Engage in continuous conversations on ICT with RMIT staff and students including those in
   research centres, schools and administrative areas.
2. Determine how Information Technology Services (ITS) best engages with academic staff
   through formal and informal avenues to address emerging issues in ICT that may have
   implications for teaching, learning, research and administration.
3. Maintain the ICT Planning Reference Group (or similar) to keep the plan moving forward and
   monitor the outcomes of the discussions and activities, making further recommendations to the
   ICT Strategy Committee as required.




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3 Introduction
The development of an RMIT Information and Communications Technology Plan (ICT Plan) to
2010 represents a milestone for RMIT University and for its Information Technology Services
Division. The failure of the initial implementation of PeopleSoft in 2001 had a major impact on all
aspects of the University and necessitated a significant act of retrieval. It is through the hard work
of many hundreds of staff across the University that RMIT now sees itself with a robust and
integrated technology platform that is able to act as a stable base for the information technology
support needed to implement the University‘s Strategic Plan, RMIT 2010: Designing the Future.

Over the past 12 months RMIT has staked its claim to be ―the first choice provider of work relevant
education in Australia‖ by 2010. Accordingly, the Strategic Plan has necessitated the development
of an Academic Plan 2010 which is further supported by strategy plans in Learning and Teaching,
Research and Innovation, and Industry. These plans establish the framework and confirm the
priorities for the development of the University as a whole. The ICT Plan to 2010 is written in direct
support of the University‘s Strategic Plan and seeks to ‗enable‘ staff and students to contribute to
building the future in RMIT through the effective and efficient application of the most up to date
information and communication technologies.

The university‘s strategic plan RMIT 2010: Designing the Future sets out 8 major priorities:

      Providing students with a global passport to learning and work
      Positioning RMIT as the first choice provider of work and industry relevant training
      Developing focused areas of excellence in research and scholarship that reflect RMIT‘s
       global engagement with industries and communities
      Ensuring flexible, useful pathways and learning opportunities for students
      Creating an experience for students that is stimulating, satisfying and celebrates diversity
      Attracting, developing, rewarding and retaining high quality staff
      Developing facilities and systems to support and sustain excellence in education and
       research
      Developing a sustainable platform for achieving RMIT‘s goals.

The role of the ICT plan is to both support and enable innovation in the implementation of these
priorities. It is a strategic document, separate to, but embodying some key elements of, the existing
ITS work plan. Please see Appendix A for the current list of operational priorities for ITS.

A modern university, providing services to students and the community in an increasingly global
and competitive educational world, requires stability in its ICT environment. It also requires
flexibility in order to innovate and respond to dramatic technological advances and the evolving
educational and research needs of students and staff. In seeking to identify the ICT strategies that
will enable the University to meet its goals, a path will be set that stretches out beyond 2010. The
ICT infrastructure required to support a large institution means resource intensive decisions have
to be made that will put in place systems and services that will need to be maintained over a time
horizon longer than this plan. As a result the plan will be guided by a set of principles that will
underpin ICT thinking over the coming years in a manner that strikes a balance between stability,
integration, coherence and innovation.




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4 Guiding principles driving the ICT plan to 2010
This plan is guided by the following set of six principles that will underpin ICT thinking at RMIT for
the rest of this decade:


   1. Improving research and learning outcomes and providing an exemplary student
      experience. This goal has to be at the forefront of our thinking and decision making.

   2. Engaged leadership and continuous feedback. The development and implementation of
      this plan must be owned by all members of the University community and continually
      improved through a responsive feedback loop.

   3. Equity. Not all students have equal access to educational technologies and their benefits.
      Ensuring sufficient access to ICT resources by all students and providing students with the
      best that RMIT can offer must guide our thinking.

   4. Flexibility. This is critical in order to allow for innovation and adjust to the pace of change.
      While the University needs a standard operating environment, it must be ‗user focused‘ and
      balance the support of innovation with an environment conducive to efficient work practices.

   5. Seamless and secure access to efficient and effective ICT services. It is important that
      the ICT trains run on time and that high quality access ensures that the environment,
      especially the work of students and staff, remains protected while enabling change and new
      initiatives. As academics collaborate more with other institutions, interoperability between
      different ICT platforms must be addressed.

   6. Sustainable and environmentally sound practice. Raising awareness among staff and
      students regarding environmentally sound practices and continuing to engage in
      sustainable ICT initiatives.




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5 The operating environment
Information technology has never been so much in the spotlight as it is today. ICT has moved from
a back office support function to an enabler of business strategy. No longer a ―rear vision mirror‖
for business, successful ICT implementations support, predict, model and even pro-actively drive
business decisions. This means we have to recognise the strategic importance of ICT and how it
can streamline processes, deliver timely and accurate information and provide real and quantifiable
benefit to the triple bottom line. Increasingly there is heightened awareness of IT‘s capacity to
change the delivery model for education.

Accordingly, the demand for ICT solutions has never been so great and it continues to grow....
―anytime, anywhere‖ has become a byword for the industry. There are now more systems
impacting more people, providing access to more information. The increasing demand for ICT
poses enormous challenges for the University and IT groups to provide appropriate service
delivery and support, and robust and integrated technology platforms, while allowing room for
change and innovation. As demand for ICT increases so does its complexity.

ITS has responded to the challenge through the provision of a more stable PeopleSoft
environment, and implementation of ResearchMaster, web-based enrolment, course and program
guides, student timetabling, student data warehouse, results processing, invoicing as well as
software for staff such as SAP HR and payroll. In addition the establishment of new high-capacity
servers and network upgrades has seen migration to fewer servers, increased integration,
consolidation and standardisation, as well as the establishment of one IT Group.

In February 2007 the report from an Organisational Review of Information Technology Services
recognised the University‘s success in recovering from PeopleSoft and set the scene for the
development of an ICT Plan for the future. The report highlighted the need for a plan that was
aligned to the University‘s strategic direction; pro-active and outcomes focussed; and developed
with involvement from a wide range of stakeholders. Consultation, ‗partnering‘ and widespread
ownership of the plan will be necessary to ensure successful implementation.

There are several challenges in building an ICT Plan at RMIT and this first iteration should act as a
catalyst to stimulate a series of discussions across the University about how ICT can best
contribute to the future direction of the University. In some ways it is a conversation starter as
certain choices need to be made by teachers, researchers and administrative staff rather than by
ITS.

One of the first of these challenges is how best to utilise emerging technologies in e-research, e-
learning and teaching, and internationalisation (e.g. connectivity across local and international
campuses). Another is to reconcile the provision of robust coordinated services with the need for
innovation and the space for academic staff to experiment. The provision of ‗noise free‘
administrative services is another.

Of critical importance is to coordinate decision making so there is a clear sense of leadership and
direction as to how ICT best contributes to learning, teaching and research. Academic staff do not
always know what ICT products and services are available or how to utilise them. IT staff often
don‘t necessarily understand what is needed or what the academic staff require. Collaboration is
therefore necessary so informed choices can be made about future directions.

The increasing demand for ICT solutions will need to be balanced against financial constraints and
recognise the difficulty in providing a sustainable IT workforce that meets the University‘s
requirements.

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In setting out the ICT priorities in this plan, consideration has to be given to projects that have been
agreed to by the University but not yet funded. Many of these are necessary upgrades to hardware
(e.g. telephones that will work into the future) and software upgrades (PeopleSoft, SAP,
Blackboard and a new web-site). Others require the University to determine answers to important
questions about learning, teaching and research. How wireless should the campus be? Should all
lectures be recorded and available for download? Should all students be given an iPod loaded with
RMIT content at enrolment? What are the intellectual property implications of ‗peer to peer‘
research software or open research data repositories?

Answers to questions such as these have the capacity to change the way in which learning,
teaching and research are performed in universities and pose significant challenges for staff while
also holding out the promise of an opportunity to create a better learning and working environment.

This RMIT ICT Plan to 2010 does not attempt to answer all of these questions. Rather it
establishes aspirations setting the scene for the next three years and hopes to engage staff in
robust debate about the contribution of ICT to the future of RMIT. The plan is both part of an
educative process as well as a strategic one. The ICT plan is not the ITS work plan, but embodies
a forward looking approach for all of RMIT in terms of ICT planning and action. The ICT plan
encourages the consolidation of the current ITS plan of work in 2007 and 2008 and then looks
beyond.

The ICT Plan to 2010 will need to be revisited regularly to accommodate the pace of change and
be operationalised each year. The success of the plan will lie not only in how well it engages staff
but in how well it is implemented. Detailed implementation plans will need to be developed to
ensure this occurs. Ultimately it‘s about how well the plan serves students, staff and the University
in an environment that is becoming increasingly self-service.




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6 ICT Plan to 2010 Goals
This ICT Plan to 2010 focuses on the following goals:


Research                                                              Student experience
Use ICT to support the development of                                 Use ICT to create an experience for
focussed areas of excellence in research                              students which is stimulating and satisfying
and scholarship that reflect our global                               and which celebrates diversity and at the
engagement with industries and                                        same time enables efficient and common
communities.                                                          access to their learning, teaching and
                                                                      research resources.


Learning and teaching                                                 Staff experience
Continue to support and sustain excellence                            Attract, develop, reward and retain staff
in education across HE and TAFE and to                                who embrace the future with energy and
promote continuous and life long learning                             creativity and who are focussed on the
through work-relevant and work-integrated                             needs of our students and our partners.
learning opportunities for our diverse local,                         Encourage staff to understand and to
regional and international community of                               contribute to the design of ICT
students.                                                             environments.


A Global University                                                   Sustainability and support
Build a global university grounded in                                 Maintain underlying ICT infrastructure to
Melbourne and connected to communities,                               provide the high level of network and
enterprises and industry across the world,                            application support expected by the RMIT
providing our students with a global passport                         community to continue to support and
to learning and work.                                                 sustain excellence in education and
                                                                      research.




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7 Emerging challenges arising from the planning process
Fundamentally the role of an ICT strategy is to support the implementation of existing academic,
research, industry and other university plans. It‘s an enabling strategy, asking the question ―How
can ICT help?‖ At the same time the fast moving nature of ICT means that technologies become
available that have the potential to influence existing policy directions, encouraging innovation, in
approaches to learning and teaching for example, that are not included in existing plans.

Throughout the course of the ICT planning process, at Town Hall meetings, Leadership Group
meetings, the ICT Planning Reference Group and other forums, courses of action have been
recommended that would require a change to current direction and practice in a number of areas.
The approach taken in this plan is to identify and highlight those where guidance is sought as to
the kind of technologies that ITS should be pursuing as it seeks to place the university at the
forefront of technological support.


7.1 Research

      The planning process highlighted the lack of a ―meeting place‖ where the availability of new
       technologies can be brought to the attention of researchers and so a formal process may
       need to be established to enable this to happen.

      Mass communication challenges current notions of intellectual property. As more and more
       information is made freely available on the internet and shared worldwide, new ways of
       conceptualising ownership, research repositories and research collaboration will need to be
       explored. Similar issues will apply to teaching materials.



7.2 Learning and teaching

      There is a very strong view that teaching staff should be encouraged to develop more
       active and innovative approaches to learning and teaching that could be supported by ICT.
       Greater use of Lectopia, video conferencing, content management and sharing systems,
       virtual learning and online interactive learning were just some directions that were
       recommended.

      Should the university move from its current Minimum Online Presence (MOP) policy to a
       Maximum Online Presence (MOP 2)? In universities across the world there is greater
       commitment to putting all lectures online for download as podcasts to MP3 players, laptops
       and PCs, reducing the need for large lectures and creating an ―anywhere, anytime‖
       environment for students.

      Should the University move to a wireless environment, where for example, students are
       supplied with a configured laptop and fixed labs are reduced to a minimum. There are
       considerable implications for research and for teaching and learning in this kind of strategy.

      New learning technologies have the capacity to make a significant contribution to
       assessment and student feedback. There is a view that these should be utilised to
       encourage staff to move toward more formative assessment practise and faster feedback
       turnaround times.

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     IT literacy and the preparedness by academic staff to embrace its use in the ‗classroom‘
      vary enormously across the University. Should it be a University priority to significantly
      improve professional development in the pedagogy of learning technologies and if so how
      should this be done?

     Throughout the consultation process it became clear that many academic staff are not
      aware of what technologies are available, how they might be used, what other universities
      are doing with ICT, what students already do or might do with new technologies. The
      outcome was a realisation that significantly more research and awareness rasing into all of
      the above is necessary.



7.3 Global university

     Several of the strategies under a global university require significant involvement from the
      Academic Registrar, the PVC International and others. Some examples include;
      establishing how to build virtual offerings into international partnerships and points of
      delivery and then establishing how to market the offerings, or, how to best provide ICT
      support to increase opportunities for students and staff to benefit from the international
      experience including engagement in international networks.



7.4 Student experience

     A range of recommended actions to improve the student experience emerged from the
      planning process that if implemented had implications for other portfolios rather than ITS.
      Some of these included seeking feedback from students on ICT requirements, improving
      systems for tracking student progress, researching the use of ICT in TAFE, reviewing the
      use of ICT products and services in portfolios, establishing a fund that enables students to
      undertake research projects that enhance the university‘s ability to be innovative in the use
      of ICT and the like.


7.5 Staff Experience

     Recommended actions outside the scope of ITS fell into two broad categories: engagement
      and support. The first was in relation to establishing mechanisms to ensure that staff were
      aware of, utilise and could contribute to developments in ICT, and secondly that usage
      levels were known so that professional development could be targeted. There are
      numerous players in ICT professional development; TAFE, ITS, Academic Portfolios to
      name just few and a review leading to a more coordinated approach would seem to be
      beneficial.




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7.6 Sustainability and Support

     A critical issue surrounding the development of an ICT plan was in regard to leadership and
      coordination generally across the university and one of the biggest challenges faced in the
      planning process was the difficulty of engaging academic staff in thinking about the future.
      The University is a large institution, quite diverse and geographically separated. Staff are
      very busy. It was not possible to engage everyone. When engagement was successful it
      was for a limited time to audiences that had very different levels of understanding (within
      and between groups) about the capacity of ICT to contribute beyond what already exists.
      Strategic change takes time of course.

      What emerged from the process was a need for clarity and coordination about where to
      take new ideas with implications across the University for future strategy. There are
      numerous committees with a stake in the overall outcome that meet at different times and
      at different intervals over different issues and with different perspectives. A more
      coordinated approach to the strategic implications and implementation of ICT strategies
      across the University could be advantageous and could well include the development of
      ICT plans at portfolio, school, department and research centre levels.




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8 Aspirations
After extensive interviews with senior staff1 at RMIT the following aspirations were established to
guide ICT planning throughout RMIT in the years to come:


1. Establish leading ICT support for learning and teaching, recognising the diversity of needs of
   academics and researchers across the university within the ICT framework.


2. Establish a high quality RMIT experience for all students regardless of their geographic
   location.


3. Readiness to take advantage of world-wide trends in changing delivery models of ICT provision
   to students to make it seamless and mobile—anytime, anywhere.


4. Enable academic staff to utilise a variety of learning spaces for students including those that
   encourage shared information and experience in a collaborative environment.


5. Enable all staff to be globally networked, streamlining communication with peers within and
   outside RMIT, and linking into institutions around the world for research, industry engagement
   and other collaborative activities.


6. Enable ongoing two-way open dialogue with ICT stakeholders including students, staff in
   schools, and research institutes, managers and administrators to determine ongoing ICT
   requirements.




1
    ICT Strategy Committee and ICT Planning Reference Group. For membership see Appendix B.
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9     Map of ICT Priorities to the RMIT Strategic Plan
The university‘s strategic plan RMIT 2010: Designing the Future sets out eight major priorities
which are mapped to the fifteen ICT Plan to 2010 strategic priorities below.

RMIT Strategic Plan                  ICT Plan to 2010 Strategic Priorities
1. Providing students with a         11.4.2   All RMIT students regardless of geographic location should
   global passport to learning                experience RMIT in similar ways
   and work
                                     11.3.1   Support the global passport concept of the mobility of
                                              students for example by establishing RMIT Melbourne and
                                              Vietnam as twin IT hubs.

2. Positioning RMIT as the first     11.3.2   Strengthen the ties with industry, communities and alumni to
   choice provider of work and                encourage further involvement with RMIT students and
   industry relevant training                 research projects

3. Developing focused areas of       11.1.2   Provide ICT to enable scholarly communication with research
   excellence in research and                 groups locally and globally
   scholarship that reflect RMIT‘s
                                     11.1.1   Ensure the ICT requirements of the RMIT researcher and
   global engagement with
                                              research degree student are well supported whilst
   industries and communities
                                              recognising the security needs of RMIT.

4. Ensuring flexible, useful         11.2.1   Provide ICT to support innovative approaches in learning and
   pathways and learning                      teaching which improve the student experience and
   opportunities for students                 outcomes
                                     11.4.3   Strengthen ICT services to students e.g. to ensure such
                                              services are flexible, accessible on demand, fit for purpose
                                              and responsive

5. Creating an experience for        11.4.1   Focus on providing a harmonious, engaging and informative
   students that is stimulating,              interface for students which enables them to efficiently
   satisfying and celebrates                  undertake their studies and research
   diversity
                                     11.6.1   Ensure strategies are developed for communicating ICT
                                              initiatives to staff and students, and for seeking feedback

6. Attracting, developing,           11.5.1   Develop sound strategies for the recruitment and retention of
   rewarding and retaining high               IT staff whose capabilities are aligned to that of a university of
   quality staff                              technology
                                     11.2.2   Provide staff training and support to encourage most effective
                                              use of ICT

7. Developing facilities and         11.6.2   Ensure processes are in place to maintain ongoing
   systems to support and                     improvement in ICT management
   sustain excellence in
                                     11.5.2   Establish transparent and inclusive processes and resources
   education and research
                                              which enable staff to explore ICT

8. Developing a sustainable          11.5.3   Reduce the duplication of systems and content
   platform for achieving RMIT‘s
                                     11.6.3   Ensure RMIT seeks            to     implement           environmentally
   goals
                                              responsible solutions




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10 Summary of ICT Actions
The list of ICT goals and actions that have been identified during the ICT planning process are summarised below:

#    Area                                                Actions
1    Research                                            1.       Promote flexibility and unfettered access to global university and corporate networks from RMIT
     Use ICT to support the development of               2.       Support quick implementation of research hardware
     focussed areas of excellence in research and        3.       Set up a sandpit ICT environment to trial new research technology
     scholarship that reflect our global                 4.       Establish repositories for the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and the Accessibility
     engagement with industries and                               Framework
     communities.
                                                         5.       Develop/acquire better ICT tools for managing research activity
                                                         6.       Identify the underlying ICT frameworks and initiatives of the top Australian and world universities e.g.
                                                                  e-research
                                                         7.       RMIT to fund and build the appropriate ICT infrastructure to support e-research

2    Learning and teaching                               1.       Ensure technology for learning and teaching remains current
     Continue to support and sustain excellence          2.       Enable academic staff to experiment with, and pilot new technologies
     in education across HE and TAFE and to              3.       Provide ICT support through communication of available tools and training for staff
     promote continuous and life long learning           4.       Ensure that the video conferencing system is implemented
     through work-relevant and work-integrated
                                                         5.       Provide access to virtual and mobile technologies e.g. Second Life
     learning opportunities for our diverse local,
     regional and international community of             6.       Further develop the adoption of Web 2.0 e.g. through Blackboard Campus LX system
     students.                                           7.       Take the work environment to students through computer simulations, e.g. through iLab which is a
                                                                  virtual laboratory

3    A Global University                                 1.       Establish the Melbourne campus and the Vietnam campus as twin IT hubs
     Build a global university grounded in               2.       Investigate tools for students and staff to simplify communication e.g. Skype and instant messaging
     Melbourne and connected to communities,             3.       Apply usability testing to all RMIT applications to ensure they are user friendly, clear, and simple to
     enterprises and industry across the world,                   navigate
     providing our students with a global passport       4.       Establish a process for visiting professors to connect them to appropriate ICT resources
     to learning and work.
                                                         5.       Establish virtual offerings into international points of delivery
                                                         6.       Support the further development of the industry database and industry web presence (portal)




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4   Student experience                                1.       Implement an integrated Student Portal that acts as a single point of access
    Use ICT to create an experience for students      2.       Review communications technology on offer, such as YouTube, Facebook, external email etc
    which is stimulating and satisfying and which     3.       RMIT applications and web content to conform to the RMIT Web Accessibility Compliance Framework
    celebrates diversity and at the same time         4.       Examine the feasibility of moving to a laptop environment
    enables efficient and common access to their
                                                      5.       Include academic staff in the IT laboratory review
    learning, teaching and research resources.
                                                      6.       Ensure that the ICT access pathway from TAFE to Higher Education is seamless
                                                      7.       Ensure implementation plans are developed with each school so that software is in place within labs
                                                               and on staff members‘ workstations at the start of each academic year
                                                      8.       Implement an RMIT ―smartcard‖ system for student and staff use

5   Staff experience                                  1.       Develop a sound strategy for the recruitment and retention of IT staff
    Attract, develop, reward and retain staff who     2.       Streamline and simplify ITS procurement process
    embrace the future with energy and creativity     3.       Establish mechanisms to engage users in ICT decisions
    and who are focussed on the needs of our          4.       ITS to implement a service management methodology based on AS8018
    students and our partners. Encourage staff to
                                                      5.       Replace the RMIT website to ensure ease of use, improved accessibility
    understand and to contribute to further RMIT
    ICT planning.                                     6.       Improve interoperability between systems e.g. RPO and Blackboard Gradebook
                                                      7.       With each request for a new application, review RMIT offerings current and planned to ensure no
                                                               duplication of offerings
                                                      8.       Within ITS establish IT cadetships and graduate employment programs
                                                      9.       Use ICT to improve administration e.g. record keeping for TAFE student attendance
                                                      10.      Establish single sign-on to reduce the number of times logins must occur

6   Sustainability and support                        1.       Define how applications are selected for trial by staff members and then accepted by the University as
    Maintain underlying ICT infrastructure to                  a whole
    provide the high level of network and             2.       Broaden the constituent base regarding feedback on ICT planning
    application support expected by the RMIT          3.       Continue to establish a more environmentally friendly approach to computing
    community to continue to support and sustain      4.       Continue to secure application and network infrastructure
    excellence in education and research.
                                                      5.       Continue to facilitate the efficient management of ICT resources
                                                      6.       Continue to assess open source software
                                                      7.       Continue to focus on budget and financial performance
                                                      8.       Ensure that legal issues associated with new ICT applications are identified and addressed
                                                      9.       Extend ITS processes for obtaining, reporting and addressing feedback
                                                      10.      ITS staff attend selected Portfolio and School Executive meetings to review the ICT plan




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11 Goals, strategies and actions to 2010
This section identifies the goals, strategic priorities and recommended actions arising from the ICT
Planning process.


11.1 Goal 1 – Research
Use ICT to support the development of focussed areas of excellence in research and scholarship
that reflect our global engagement with industries and communities.

11.1.1        Strategic priorities
1. Ensure the ICT requirements of the RMIT researcher and research degree student are well
   supported whilst recognising the security needs of RMIT.
2. Provide ICT to enable scholarly communication with research groups locally and globally.

11.1.2        Recommended actions
1. Establish internal ICT policies, processes and procedures to support research ICT
   infrastructure:

      promote flexibility and unfettered access to global university and corporate networks and
       simplify the process for acquiring ‗fit for purpose‘ computing equipment and software

      develop a shared understanding of, and mechanism for, risk management and security
       through the establishment of dialogue between academic staff and IT staff specialising in
       security and audit.
2. Review the configuration of the RMIT IT network and enhance it for researchers and
   academics, modifying sections to support quick implementation of research hardware in
   specified open access sections of the network whilst maintaining the security of the rest of the
   network.
3. Set up a sandpit ICT environment for researchers and academics to trial new research
   technology—particularly those in IT fields. This should be segregated/firewalled from other
   areas of the network.
4. Establish repositories for the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) repository service and
   the Accessibility Framework – which provides an open repository for public access.
5. Develop/acquire better ICT tools for managing research activity. This includes
   collecting/recording activity, accessing performance/benchmarking data, and tracking grants
   and related expenditure. Provide researchers with direct and real-time access to improved
   reporting on individuals, groups and benchmarking data.
6. Identify the underlying ICT frameworks and initiatives of the top Australian and world
   universities; incorporate improvement strategies into future iterations of the ICT Plan e.g.
   e-research.
7. RMIT to fund and build the appropriate ICT infrastructure to support e-research.




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11.2 Goal 2 – Learning and teaching
Continue to support and sustain excellence in education across HE and TAFE through the supply
of ICT to promote continuous and life long learning through work-relevant and work-integrated
learning opportunities for our diverse local, regional and international community of students.

11.2.1        Strategic priorities

1. Provide ICT support for innovative approaches in learning and teaching which improve the
   student experience as well as outcomes.
2. Provide staff training and support to encourage most effective use of ICT.

11.2.2        Recommended actions

1. Establish a plan to ensure technology for learning and teaching remains current. This will see
   the provision of Lectopia, video conferencing, content management systems, virtual learning
   and online interactive learning.
2. Establish transparent and inclusive processes and resources which enable academic staff to
   experiment with and pilot new technologies, within agreed limits. Include an assessment
   process where pilots can be reviewed for effectiveness and applicability to the broader
   university community.
3. Provide ICT support through communication of available tools and training for staff, for
   example, to build awareness of online assessment tools that support formative assessments
   and enable faster and more effective feedback to students.
4. Ensure that the video conferencing system is implemented in an effective and efficient manner
   with adequate training for staff. Run a video conferencing to desktop trial and ensure a
   standard system is adopted so potential students can be easily interviewed remotely.
5. Provide access to virtual and mobile technologies, for example Second Life, which is already in
   use at RMIT as a research and teaching environment.
6. Further develop the adoption of Web 2.0 through initiatives such as the Blackboard Campus LX
   system (Blogs, wikis and e-portfolio); identify good practice and implement the system across
   the university through support, training and promotion.
7. Make the world of work accessible by taking the work environment to students through
   computer simulations, for example through access to iLab, a virtual laboratory to enable
   students to conduct experiments online.




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11.3 Goal 3 – A Global University

Build a global university grounded in Melbourne and connected to communities, enterprises and
industry across the world, providing our students with a global passport to learning and work.

11.3.1         Strategic priorities

1. Support the global passport concept of the mobility of students and staff.
2. Strengthen the ties with industry, communities and alumni to encourage further involvement
   with RMIT students and research projects.

11.3.2         Recommended actions

1. Establish the Melbourne campus and the Vietnam campus as twin IT hubs for the RMIT global
   network, linked and supported by high quality information and communication technology and
   strong staff and student interactions:

      Implement common student administration systems.
      Accelerate the development of a Standard Operating Environment (SOE) for all of RMIT‘s
       international campuses and partners.
      As the country‘s infrastructure permits, improve the capacity of the communication links
       between RMIT and Vietnam.
2. Investigate tools for students and staff to simplify communication, such as Skype and instant
   messaging, which will encourage enhanced communication and virtual mobility.
3. Undertake application usability testing with an explicit focus on international students to ensure
   applications are user friendly, clear, and simple to navigate. These environments include but
   are not limited to the student portal and online enrolment.
4. Establish a process for visiting professors to have easy access to appropriate RMIT ICT
   resources and to their home university resources.
5. Establish how to build virtual offerings into international partnerships and points of delivery.
6. Support the further development of the industry database and industry web presence (portal)
   providing a single external information and communication channel to support the enhanced
   industry and media engagement strategy.




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11.4 Goal 4 – Student experience

Use ICT to create an experience for students that is stimulating, satisfying and which celebrates
diversity and at the same time enables efficient and common access to their learning, teaching and
research resources.

11.4.1         Strategic priorities

1. Focus on providing a harmonious, engaging and informative interface for students which
   enables them to efficiently undertake their studies and research.
2. All RMIT students regardless of geographic location should experience RMIT ICT in similar
   ways.
3. Strengthen ICT services to students e.g. to ensure such services are flexible, accessible on
   demand, fit for purpose and responsive.

11.4.2         Recommended actions

1. Implement an integrated student portal that acts as a single point of access for student support
   services, learning content, interactivity with peers and networks, course and program
   information and student administration. Ensure the portal combines student Blackboard
   calendar content into one and is standards-based so that students can access this from PDAs
   and mobiles.
2. Review communications technology on offer, such as YouTube, Facebook, external email etc.
   to improve students‘ educational experience at RMIT.
3. All RMIT applications and web content available to RMIT staff and students to conform to the
   RMIT Web Accessibility Compliance Framework accessibility framework.
4. Undertake a project to examine the feasibility of moving to a laptop environment, with access to
   IT laboratories to meet specialist applications that cannot be utilised over a generalist wireless
   network and to maintain equity by maintaining general-access labs.
5. Include academic staff in the IT laboratory review to review the numbers and design of future IT
   labs; increase the number of 24 hour labs; add computers to scientific labs to emulate
   workplaces.
6. For students moving from TAFE to Higher Education, ensure that the ICT access pathway is
   seamless.
7. Ensure implementation plans are developed with each school to ensure the software is in place
   within labs and on staff members‘ workstations at the start of each academic year.
8. Implement an RMIT ―smartcard‖ system for student and staff use.




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11.5 Goal 5 – Staff experience

Attract, develop, reward and retain staff who embrace the future with energy and creativity and
who are focussed on the needs of our students and our partners. Encourage staff to understand
and to contribute to the design of ICT environments.

11.5.1        Strategic priorities

1. Develop sound strategies for the recruitment and retention of IT staff whose capabilities are
   aligned to that of a university of technology.
2. Establish transparent and inclusive processes and resources which enable staff to explore ICT.
3. Reduce the duplication of systems and content.

11.5.2        Recommended actions

1. In conjunction with People & Culture, develop a sound strategy for the recruitment and
   retention of IT staff.
2. Streamline and simplify ITS procurement processes.
3. Establish mechanisms to engage users in ICT decisions by including portfolio representation
   on ITS change committees.
4. Continue working to ensure a high level of service to RMIT staff by implementing a service
   management methodology based on AS8018 ―Australian Standard for ICT Service
   Management‖.
5. Replace the RMIT website to ensure ease of use, improved accessibility and improved
   ―searchability‖.
6. Improve interoperability between systems e.g. RPO and Gradebook in Blackboard to reduce
   the data entry duplication of student marks.
7. With each request for a new application, review what RMIT already has on offer and in the
   pipeline to ensure there is no duplication of offerings. Also review the applications on offer at
   ATN and other universities.
8. Within ITS establish IT cadetships and graduate employment programs to ensure a permanent
   intake of trainees and work experience students.
9. Use ICT to free up staff from and improve administrative activities such as record keeping for
   TAFE student attendance.
10. Establish single sign-on where appropriate, to reduce the number of times a staff member or
    students must log in.




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11.6 Goal 6 – Sustainability and support

Maintain underlying ICT infrastructure to provide the high level of network and application support
expected by the RMIT community to continue to support and sustain excellence in education and
research.

11.6.1        Strategic priorities

1. Ensure strategies are developed for communicating ICT initiatives to staff and students, and for
   seeking feedback.
2. Ensure processes are in place to maintain ongoing improvement in ICT management.
3. Ensure RMIT seeks to implement environmentally preferable ICT solutions.

11.6.2        Recommended actions

1. Define how applications are selected for trial by staff members and then accepted by the
   University as a whole. This is to balance the need for staff research into new ICT applications
   with the students‘ need to have a common and single interface to use when studying at RMIT.
2. Broaden the constituent base regarding feedback on ICT planning for example, on deciding
   whether RMIT should adopt Second Life, or an approach like ANU‘s Skill Soup
   http://academicskills.anu.edu.au/podcasts/skillsoup.php.

3. Continue to establish a more environmentally friendly approach to computing. For example,
   review IT infrastructure purchases to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Continue to secure application and network infrastructure by completing an information
   classification and risk assessment, reviewing the network structure to ensure it is secure, and
   establishing areas separate from the rest of the network where research and academic staff
   can experiment more freely with software products while keeping the rest of the network
   secure.
5. Continue to facilitate the efficient management of ICT resources and continue to consolidate
   and integrate our information and communication technologies across the RMIT network.
6. Continue to assess open source software to determine when they are mature enough for RMIT
   and therefore viable alternatives to existing software.
7. Continue to focus on budget and financial performance by continued responsible and proactive
   financial management of ITS.
8. Ensure that legal issues associated with new ICT applications are identified and addressed
   (e.g. copyright issues with pod casting).
9. Extend ITS processes for obtaining, reporting and addressing feedback on its full range of
   services. Identify and measure key outcomes for users and the university as part of its service
   planning and review. This should include obtaining feedback on the range of ITS services, and
   reporting back on how the feedback has been addressed.
10. Attend selected Portfolio and School Executive meetings to review ICT plan progress and
    gather feedback.



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12 Conclusion
The process of developing an ICT Plan to 2010 has unearthed a broad range of issues, challenges
and potential solutions in learning, teaching, research and administration right across the university
that have a connection with ICT. For some of these the direction for ICT is clear while others
require significant deliberation about future strategy in issues such as pedagogy, intellectual
property and research collaboration, before ITS can offer options for ICT support.
Making progress on these issues will require some nimble footwork and effective coordination as
we continue to develop strategies to support the implementation of the university‘s strategic,
academic, research and industry plans. The conversations that have taken place over the
university‘s ICT direction have, however, been the most productive for several years.
This is an ICT Plan for RMIT with two distinct purposes, to ―keep the lights on‖ and to support and
encourage innovation, but it details only those strategies and actions where responsibility for
coordination and implementation rests primarily with Information Technology Services.
The Plan takes a strategic view over three years, recognising that nothing actually starts at the
beginning. There already exists an ITS workplan with strategies in place that will continue to be
implemented, such as upgrades to Blackboard, throughout the next three years. The plan also
reaches out beyond this time span, in that new strategies have infrastructure implications for 2011
and beyond. Plans are not static then, they are statements of intent that should recognise the need
for flexibility and change.
The ICT Plan moves to embrace greater freedom in the selection, trial and use of ICT applications
by academic staff and to open up the network for greater global and local accessibility. At the same
time there is recognition that students do not wish to have a large range of interfaces to manage
and also that the organisation has limited capacity to support technologies, applications and
computing environments. As a consequence the movement towards opening up the network must
be counter balanced with the ongoing requirement for the ICT environment to remain secure.
This then is the broad direction for the next three years: clarity and direction where the path is set,
and support to be innovative where it is not. Conversations that have yet to be had may well
identify new pathways and so it will be necessary to revisit our priorities continually and check that
they are still a valid response to the demands of a fast changing university environment.




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13 Appendix A – Operational priorities for ITS
This list separately documents the significant projects that were already priorities for ITS before the
commencement of this planning process:



Application upgrades

1.   Introduction of the Student Portal (2007-8)


2.   Blackboard upgrade (2008)


3.   PeopleSoft upgrade to version 9 (2008-9)


4.   SAP upgrade (2008-10)


5.   Replacement of the RMIT website (2008-10)




Infrastructure upgrades

1.   Replacement and upgrade of the main RMIT telephone system (7000 extensions) to new
     hybrid voice and data technology (2008-10)


2.   Expansion and upgrade of wireless connectivity (2007 continuing)


3.   Increasing the use of technology in lecture theatres – Lectopia (2007 continuing)


4.   Network improvement: gigabit to desktop upgrade (2008)


5.   Improved connectivity with the Vietnam campus (2009)


6.   Introduction of a new data centre at Bundoora (2008-9)




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14 APPENDIX B – Contributors
To date over 150 staff and students have contributed to the plan through a range of committees,
groups and meetings. It is with thanks that we recognise all staff and especially the following
members of RMIT Community:


ICT Strategy Committee
 Name                                                    Position
 Vice President Resources Steve Somogyi – Chair          PVC Resources and Chief Operating Officer
 Prof. Daine Alcorn                                      PVC SET
 Craig Anderson                                          Director, University Library
 Deputy Vice Chancellor Jim Barber                       DVC Academic
 Prof. Neil Furlong                                      PVC Research
 Prof. Joyce Kirk                                        PVC Students
 Allan Morris                                            Executive Director, ITS
 Dr Madeleine Reeve                                      PVC International and Development
 Dr April Weiss - Executive Assistant                    A/Associate Director - Applications Services, ITS

ICT Reference Planning Group
 Name                                       Position
 Allan Morris – Chair                       Executive Director, ITS
 Craig Anderson                             Director, University Library
 Prof. Mark Burry                           Federation Fellow, Architecture and Design
 Prof. Brian Corbitt                        Head of School, Business Information Technology
 Lois Fitz-Gerald                           Director Planning & Resources, SET Portfolio
 Peter Dorrell – Facilitator                Facilitator, PD Consulting Group
 Prof. Neil Furlong                         PVC Research & Innovation
 Prof. Joyce Kirk                           PVC Students
 Dr Maddy McMaster                          Academic Registrar
 Christine Robertson                        Associate Director TAFE, DSC Portfolio
 Prof. Heinz Schmidt                        Discipline Head, Distributed Software Engineering and
                                            Architecture
 Prof. Heiko Schroder                       Head of School, Computer Science Information Technology
 Prof. Mark Shortis                         Dean Academic Development, SET Portfolio
 Prof. Peter Smith                          Head of School, Creative Media
 Rod van den Akker                          Associate Director, Portfolio Relationship ITS
 Prof. Ron Wakefield                        Head of School, Property Construction & Project Management
 Dr April Weiss – Executive Assistant       A/Associate Director – Applications Services, ITS


Document Authors
Allan Morris, Executive Director ITS
Dr. April Weiss, A/Associate Director – Applications Services, ITS
Peter Dorrell, PD Consulting Group

ICT Reference Planning Group



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15 APPENDIX C – Abbreviations and definitions
Item                Definition
ARG                 Academic Registrars Group
Blackboard          Provides online course content and a range of online facilities such as chat, quizzes,
                    discussion lists, online whiteboards etc at RMIT.
DVC                 Deputy Vice-Chancellor
ED                  Executive Director
ETAG                Educational Technology Advisory Group
FSG                 Financial Services Group
HR                  Human Resources
ICT                 Information and communications technology is a term that covers the computing and
                    electronic communications technology. ICT refers to computer systems, networks,
                    databases, software, hardware, security devices, telephony and so on. Those staff who
                    work in ICT may: design, develop, and manage computer systems; they may perform
                    administrative tasks; they can be design, develop and test software; build and install
                    hardware; design and maintain databases; maintain networks; analyse the business
                    requirements and convert them into functional requirements; ensure systems are
                    secure and monitor security; train staff in how to use technology; and produce technical
                    documentation etc.
iLab                A virtual laboratory. Virtual laboratories are cost-effective alternatives that allow
                    individual students to perform experiments on their own, from wherever they want, in a
                    safe manner.
iPod                Initially a portable hard disk drive produced by the Apple Computer corporation, there
                    are now types of iPods which have no moving parts. An iPod is typically used to store
                    music files such as MP3s but can also be used for storing other files such as images or
                    other data.
Lectopia            A facility to capture all audio and PC/Visualiser materials presented during that lecture,
                    then automatically convert to a podcast for students to download from Blackboard.
PeopleSoft          RMIT academic management system
PVC                 Pro Vice-Chancellor
R&I                 Research & Innovation
ResearchMaster      Research management system
RTAG                Research Technology Advisory Group
SAP                 RMIT financial and HR management system
Second Life         Launched in 2003 by Philip Linden, Second Life is a massively multiplayer online role
                    playing game (MMORPG). A virtual reality community, in which users create an
                    identity, meet people, buy land and build their own objects. Users can interact as if they
                    were living another life.
SMS                 Short message service commonly known as text messages intended for mobile
                    phones.
Streaming media     Sound (audio) and pictures (video) that are transmitted on the Internet in a streaming
                    or continuous fashion. Files are sent compressed via the Internet and begin playing as
                    they are being downloaded to a computer.
Web Accessibility   An accessibility framework for RMIT. The framework is not linked to specific W3C
Compliance          version numbers such as WCAG 1.0 or 2.0. The accessibility framework is designed to
Framework           be forward-looking, and to develop along with W3C standards.
WebLearn            RMIT (CS&IT and ITS) developed quizzing, survey and assignment submission
                    application.

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16 APPENDIX D – Revision History

Version   Date       Includes input from
V1        14/7/07    ICT Reference Planning Group; ICT Strategy Committee; All Staff Meeting (City);
                     All Staff Meeting (Bundoora); Senior RMIT academic staff members
V2        20/7/07    Internal edit
V3        20/8/07    ICT Planning Reference Group; ICT Strategy Committee; Teaching and Learning
                     Leadership Group; Educational Technology Advisory Group (ETAG); Leadership
                     Team Meeting 1; Leadership Team Meeting 2; Student Advisory Committee
V4        22/08/07   Basic editing changes
V5        12/09/07   ICT Planning Reference Group
V6        24/09/07   Academic Leadership Group, plus additional feedback from Prof. Brian Corbitt,
                     Head of School Business Information Technology and Prof. Harry Majewski,
                     Head of School, Medical Sciences
V7        26/09/07   Prof. Joyce Kirk, PVC Students
V8        2/10/07    SET portfolio comments via Dr. Saied Tahaghoghi, Lecturer, CS&IT
V9        6/10/07    Prof. Joyce Kirk, PVC Students
V9.1      9/10/07    Prof. Jim Barber, DVC Academic
V9.2      10/10/07   ICT Strategy Committee
V9.3      12/11/07   Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof. Margaret Gardner
                     Prof. Jim Barber, DVC Academic VET Committee
V10       15/11/07   Internal edit
V11       16/3/08    Edit after receiving feedback from RMIT staff
V11.1     26/3/08    Edit after receiving feedback from ICT Planning Reference Group




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