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Additional Answers to Technology Questions

Note: This information expands on our list of 15 Great Technology Questions to Ask Colleges.

School Uses of Technology

Will I use technology to collaborate with other students in both introductory and advanced courses?

While there is no requirement for instructors to do so, this is done in practice as an ever-higher percentage of instructors use course management systems to augment their face-to-face classes.

Does the school give credit for courses taken online from other institutions and sources of instruction?

Courses from accredited colleges and universities transfer into SUNY Plattsburgh no matter what presentation format the course was offered in. If it was awarded credit at that school it follows the normal transfer guidelines that any other course uses.

Are library collections and resources available online and accessible off-campus?

Feinberg Library’s online catalog, full-text electronic journals, e-books, online databases, and course reserves are available on and off-campus to our students, faculty, and staff.

What technology resources and help are available to students with special needs?

All special services are coordinated through Student Support Services (SSS). This office provides devices that produce Braille, scan books for conversion to audio, and create large fonts. They can also produce a closed-caption equivalent to a lecture.

Administrative Uses and Services

Can I update personal information online myself?

Students can update their local address, emergency contact information, and email information. In addition, all course adjustments, financial aid and student account transactions (e.g., accept aid, adjust bill, make payments) can be performed online.

Can I transact admission, financial, and course-related business online?

A personalized letter is used to communicate admissions decisions. Many other services above can be performed on the web (e.g., register for courses, add/drop courses, view and accept financial aid awards, pay bills, review grades, view/print unofficial transcripts, check degree requirements and progress to graduation).

What campus and community services are covered by debit-card, smart-card, or one-card systems?

Our one-card system is used on campus for door access, meal plans, and payment of certain fees (e.g., Fitness Center, athletic fee, computer care). This debit card can be used in dining facilities, the campus store and vending machines. In addition, several local vendors accept the card.

Is the school catalog (including course descriptions, degree requirements, academic policies, and the semester schedule of classes) available on the Web?

Yes. The college catalog is updated on the web annually. The course descriptions and class schedules perform real-time selects from the student administrative systems in order to present the most up-to-date information.

What security and privacy policies are in place to protect student information?

SUNY Plattsburgh takes seriously its responsibility to protect the security and privacy of individuals. Various policies and protections can be found on our policies page.

How does the campus educate students about and protect them from identity theft?

Our LITS Information Security Analyst regularly communicate with the campus community on information security issues. Identity theft, privacy, scam awareness, and best practices for keeping information secure are common topics. Learn more about information security.

How does the campus notify students of their rights under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

The Registrar’s Office is responsible for notifying students of their rights under FERPA. Each year, the college catalog is updated with campus FERPA information. In addition, the campus FERPA policies are always available on the web.

Campus Technology Support

Does the campus provide and support electronic space for personal student web pages?


Is network bandwidth limited for peer-to-peer software, gaming, Web cams, or other programs requiring high levels of network services?

Yes. We do this to ensure the best possible service for all students. SUNY Plattsburgh currently has a managed 45MB connection to the Internet. Bandwidth management is needed since P2P applications can consume all available bandwidth on a network. An unbalanced network would result in inconsistent network performance, denial of services, and a lack of priority for network services supporting the academic mission of the campus.

Is there a campus code of behavior about using computer resources?

SUNY Plattsburgh has a Responsible Use of Technology Resources policy that clearly outlines the campus code of behavior that governs computer use.

Does the campus have policies addressing peer-to-peer file sharing, computer viruses, and copyright violations?

SUNY Plattsburgh takes these issues seriously and uses a three-stage process for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations. We have a well-developed computer services area where students take their machines for assistance in the removal of unwanted peer-to-peer sharing software and viruses.

Is contact information for students, faculty, and staff readily accessible electronically?

There are two directories in common use. One, accessible to anyone, provides name look-up and returns email addresses for the matches for students, staff and faculty. The second is more secure as it requires login as a student, staff, or faculty; this provides student information for email, phone, and physical address.

Does the campus make online communities available (e.g., forms, bulletin boards)?

No. Students have access to Microsoft 365 through their campus accounts, but we do not support this service.

Are there websites for student organizations and clubs?

Students can create websites for free through Microsoft 365, using their campus account.

Will I be required to purchase my own computer equipment and software?

It depends upon your major. Students in two of the business majors (general business and accounting) have had a set of courses designed to integrate the use of laptop computers into classes and assignments. These students will need to purchase a laptop compatible with those projects. All other students do not have to purchase specific hardware or software, and there are many computer labs across campus and in the library.

Does the campus make computing and network access financially accessible? Is special student pricing offered for computers and peripheral equipment?

There is no charge for computing or network access on campus, although portions of such services are funded by a technology fee. Special pricing for computers, software, and equipment is provided by our College Store.

What hardware and software standards, if any, does the campus require, recommend, and/or support?

The campus recommends that students use Windows-based systems where possible, as they will generally find more support for such items. Our Helpdesk also handles Linux and Apple support, but not in as great a depth. As for application support, we recommend using Microsoft Office as a base. For hardware, we generally recommend going with a name-brand system, bundled with a good warranty and a printer. Where possible, we encourage students to buy systems from vendors with whom we have been certified to offer repair service (Dell and Gateway).

What technology-support services are provided by the campus, and when are they available?

Our LIB courses cover the basics of common software, such as the Microsoft office products. In addition the Feinberg Library Reference Service is a student resource for formatting, printing, and saving assignments and projects. Professional librarians staff the reference desk during regular semesters. They are available to help students in person and online.

Does the campus have a plan for keeping its hardware and software current, and if so, what is the replacement cycle?

Yes. For hardware, we operate on a four-to-five-year cycle for faculty/staff desktops and a three-to-four-year cycle for labs and classrooms (which also includes projectors and other AV systems). As for software, we maintain a Campus Agreement with Microsoft to handle desktop operating systems and Office applications. Other software upgrades are evaluated as needed and funded through departmental budgets or campus educational technology funds.

If I bring my own computer to school, what kind of technical support can I expect from the campus?

The campus Helpdesk offers free assistance for the basics of connecting to our campus network and configuring such items and mail clients and antivirus software. For more extensive support, we encourage students to sign up for our Cardinal Computer Care Services.

How does the campus support printing for students, and is there a charge for this service?

Black and white laser printing is free in campus labs and classrooms. We do charge for color laser printing, large format/poster printing (plotter), and other related services such as laminating and binding.

Does the campus provide wireless network coverage? If so, how much of the campus has wireless connectivity?

Yes. Lounges, lobbies, meeting areas, and study locations are wireless. Additional wireless upgrades are expected in 2007-2008; these will provide additional coverage for classrooms, labs, and lecture areas. We are also adding a controlled wireless environment in the residence halls.

What security measures (e.g., antivirus software) are provided by SUNY Plattsburgh, and what is my responsibility as a student?

The majority of measures are managed by our IT staff. The student is responsible for maintaining a system that is current in its operating-system patches and anti-virus software. Students are also responsible for using good judgment in the services they use or activities in which they engage on our network.

Does the campus include the cost of technical accessories in its technology fee, or are students required to purchase these items separately?

Students are generally required to purchase such individual-use items separately.

Does the campus support the purchase and use of e-textbooks? Do the baseline hardware and software standards support this technology?

A number of courses have adopted this capability. Computer labs are plentiful on campus, and ensuring that e-books work on these machines has become part of our e-book implementation process.

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