ITS Research and Instructional Support

Manager: Peter Marshall <>

Mission Statement

To support and enhance the role and use of information technology in research and instruction at the University. To provide responsive support in the use of research and instructional application software.

General Overview

ITS Research and Instructional Support is focused on building and enhancing a computing- and information-rich environment that supports Western's faculty and graduate students in their primary research and teaching roles. This group provides the focus for the research and instructional community on campus but works closely and cooperatively with all of the other ITS groups as well as with external groups to deliver an effective, efficient and high-quality service.

Services and Functions

Research Support:

  1. Plan, acquire and provide support for central research-oriented computing applications and services including those running on
    Note that, in general, the Central Systems Group will have primary responsibility for the Operating Systems for the centrally maintained, production research systems (the first two categories above). We recognize that we'll have less influence on the desk-top.
  2. End-user support for programming languages; general OS support for VAX/VMS (in short term) and Unix support; and general research application support in the following areas:
    Note that, in general, this group doesn't support the mass-use applications like E-mail (on which many researchers do rely) but concentrates on the more specialized research applications.
  3. Provide coordination between campus researchers in the shared use of information technology primarily though an involvement in the writing and vetting of grant proposals that include a information technology component.
  4. Enable and facilitate joint collaborative research initiatives between researchers both on- and off-campus.

Instructional Support:

  1. Coordinate the use of information technology in classroom instruction. This includes
  2. Plan, design and manage campus-wide and, under contract, faculty-sponsored instructional labs -- for example, the Faculty of Science PC-lab.
  3. In conjunction with faculty/instructors, plan, document, and provide training on the use of instructional software in the labs.
  4. Liaise with other campus groups (like the Educational Development Office and the proposed new Faculty of Communications and Open Learning) charged with using information technology for instruction and studying its use.
  5. Keep track of instructors with experience and expertise in using IT for teaching in order to facilitate its spread.
  6. Provide examination scoring aid support -- Markex and on-line follow-on services.
  7. Process Faculty evaluations.

Central Web Support:

While it is expected that ITS Research and Instructional Support will use and encourage the use of the Web as a tool to support its primary mission it also takes on the larger task of coordinating, in conjunction with the evolving University Web governance structure, the campus Web service. This responsibility is seen as a one or two year temporary situation that recognizes the existing expertise and the need for continuity during the formative phases of the campus Web. The primary function of the UWO Webmasters has been defined in the pending SCITS-sponsored Policy for the World Wide Web at the University of Western Ontario as (formatting added for clarity):
The UWO Webmasters are the individuals appointed by Information Technology Services (ITS)

Intergroup and Intragroup Processes

Since the Research and Instructional group concentrates primarily on the applications layers above the operating system we need to cultivate a close and cooperative working relationship with the Systems group for operating systems support. We recognize that the line is a very blurry one and in many situations some systems and some applications work will be done by members of both groups. The goal is to cooperatively work toward situations where by standardizing we can both increase the level of service to our customers while reducing the cost to support them.

Because this group will often be in a position of being the primary contact for the support of a researcher's system, one of the roles will be to coordinate support for that system and that user from the many other groups within ITS, from Hardware Services to User Support. In general Hardware Support will be responsible for hardware and wiring, the Systems group for operating systems and User Services for general consulting for mass-use applications.

Due to the wide scope of the Web, close cooperation with most ITS groups will be required for effective Web support as we develop our own Web-enabled services. There will also be a growing relationship with the Central Software and Applications Group as campus-wide Web support moves to that group over the next few years.

Specific Processes

User Services

Central Systems Group

Facilities Management Group

Main Office


Hardware Services and Telecommunications

Campus Computer Store

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Peter Marshall <>
$Revision: 2.1 $ $Date: 1996/05/08 22:25:49 $UTC $Author: peter $ HTML 2.0 Checked!