Center for Information Technology Services

Future Technology Advances

The electronic environment at University of Maryland (UM) will continue to make advances and facilitate the distribution and integration of any kind of knowledge - text, data, image, video, and voice. Electronic resources will be widely available and accessible through easy-to-use, intuitive web environments. High-speed Internet connections will allow faculty to do research and to collaborate with their colleagues across the nation and the globe. On-line resources will help faculty and students develop innovative pedagogy and learning techniques, and provide seamless access to information resources. With the use of networked resources, the University's administrative operations also become knowledge-based. Potential benefits from technology are quite far-reaching and go beyond automation of manual, paper-based business processes. Deployed properly and used wisely, information technologies play a pivotal role in helping UM respond to many of its challenges. Effective administrative and other process changes result from electronic data interchange, integrated systems, and electronic communication technologies.

The proliferation and use of technology at UM, as well as its tremendous impact on the educational process, is raising some very significant strategic issues for the schools and the University as a whole. A significant issue is transitioning to a distributed technology environment where faculty and students exchange information in many electronic formats regardless of location; administrators and staff have an ever-increasing need for accurate, integrated information not limited by existing functional boundaries; and, where rising support costs associated with a distributed computing environment continue to be a challenge. When technology at UM reaches everyone, at any place, and any time, the educational processes of research, teaching, learning, and performing administrative tasks will become more user-centered and self-directed.

The focus for the future is the further development of a service and support-oriented environment, i.e., service and support for the available technologies and for the people who use them. A faculty developed educational technology environment, an on-line student-centered learning environment, and an efficient administrative environment via the use of technology are all possible as long as effective support structures are in place. The environments mentioned above will place unrelenting demands on the technology infrastructure, network, systems, applications, and the people responsible for them. Relationship building, collaboration, and sharing of information via electronic means will require continued access and support.

The future of technological success at UM will not be solely due to the successful implementations of technology initiatives. Future success will also depend on resolving the issues of managing organizational change, maintaining the integrity of systems, creating and implementing comprehensive support plan(s), the availability of needed resources, recruiting and retaining a professionally skilled technical staff, internal and external relationships, developing innovative practices, etc. The success in an increasingly technological research and learning environment will result from the actions of people throughout the University. These people include the faculty, who will develop "research and teaching with technology models", and who will construct research programs and curricula that will effectively integrate technology into the research and learning experience. It will include staff and administrators, who will utilize new technologies to improve efficiency in managing support services. It will include students who will incorporate technology into their learning experience at UM. The future of technology success requires an engaged community that embraces not only the outcomes of technology advances, but also the individual and organizational responsibilities that are required of a distributed information technology environment.

For everyone, technology will become simpler and access to information will become easier. Collaboration and communication via electronic means will be routine. Electronic conveniences will be ubiquitous and available to all. Technology, by itself, will become the secondary objective. The uses and benefits of technologies will, and should be, the primary objective.