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The Arab Open University January 6, 2009 AOU IT Short-term Action Plan Proposed Action Items Action items are usually driven, in a major part, by objectives emanating out of an associated Strategic Plan. However, it is also possible to address other related objectives that are inspired by the overall guiding paradigms of the AOU Strategic Plan. These are listed as supplemental objectives under the relevant Goals which have been provided as guiding principles of a more elaborate operational structure for the IT portion. The proposed Action Items are thus formulated in a manner that captures the comprehensive intent of the adopted AOU Strategy for 2008-2012. By design, they focus on the perceived future developments of the planned permanent premises. Furthermore, action items are listed under perceived strategic goals which are intended to serve as guiding paradigms to the same. 1. Serving Goal #1 Goal # 1: Build IT resources to support and enhance the delivery, creation and transfer of knowledge and learning Objective 1: Provide IT infrastructure in support of blended learning as the adopted norm of the learning process at the AOU • Responsibility: Office of Information Technology (OIT)/IT Group • Collaborating entities: Programs of study • Special notes: Document and appropriately announce availability of the Integrated Learning Management System (ILMS) that includes, in a large part, the Student Information System (SIS); and, provide support for erecting course websites. • Timeframe: Accomplish by March 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 1.a: Establish a formal entity as an Office of Information Technology (OIT), and designate a leading IT specialist to serve as the CIO (Chief Information Officer), heading the OIT; Said office to be established at the AOU-HQ and at each Branch • Responsibility: AOU Rector and Branch Directors • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Formulate OIT duties and responsibilities; formulate policies for the use of IT infrastructure facilities; email; chat; course websites; SIS; Integrated LMS; etc.; designate a University Webmaster; make the communication of 1


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updated IT services and facilities a regular announcement by the OIT/CIO; Create special faculty IT support development programs within the OIT. Timeframe: Spring semester 2009 Estimated cost: To be estimated later

Objective 1.b: Enhance the design of a comprehensive Student Information System (SIS) that serves the needs of the Branches and the Headquarter, and can be integrated operationally with other relevant systems, including the financial and the learning management systems • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: Offices of Finance • Special notes: Enhance the design of the Jordan Branch-developed SIS so that it serves the needs of the Branches and the HQ efficiently and flexibly, and the OUVS requirements • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009; complete task by end May 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 1.c: Formalize the erection of e-library resources • Responsibility: Chief Librarian • Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group; Deans and Program Coordinators • Special notes: Make e-library resources easily accessible to students, academic staff and university user community; and promote as a resource for the support of TMA work; Establish the position of “Chief Librarian” to serve AOU needs at all Branches, and act as the direct point of contact with respect to the coordination of external contractual and operational agreements; defined responsibilities of position to be approved by the AOU University Council • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009; complete task by end May 2009 at the latest • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 1.d: Utilize effective software packages for combating plagiarism • Responsibility/for follow-up and utilization: Programs of study (Deans/and Program Coordinators) • Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group • Special notes: Make the procurement and installation of software facility that is intended to combat plagiarism a priority; and, adopt a comprehensive Honor Code and Academic Integrity Policy in support of said mission • Timeframe: Urgent need; to be started by March 2009 at the latest • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 2: Facilitate the delivery of tutorials via virtual and remote presentations. This includes employing tutors located in remote locations (with regard to the premise of tutoring) and enabling them to make content presentations using various modes of

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multimedia, including the use of power point and audio and video presentations. This may be viewed as a “lecturer on demand” • • • • •

Responsibility: Academic Assistant Director Collaborating entities: Programs of study (Program Coordinators) Special notes: Employ part-time tutors in abroad locations to supplement local pool of tutors; Timeframe: Ongoing; for the expansion of current arrangements to involve all programs of study Estimated cost: To be estimated later

Objective 3: Provide textual content in the form of a “lecture on demand”, serving as supporting notes • Responsibility: Academic Assistant Director • Collaborating entities: Programs of study (Program Coordinators) • Special notes: Start a pilot trial in the spring semester of 2009; one robust trial per program of study; made available via the LMS; and, provide streamlined textual and video-based lectures that are stored on University multimedia servers that can be accessed by students and tutors remotely • Timeframe: Start the trials in the spring semester of 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 4: Facilitate the tasks of full interaction by the tutor with the classroom environment, including proctoring of ongoing assessments such as midterm assessments and/or classroom-based learning assessment activities • Responsibility: Office of Information Technology/IT Group • Collaborating entities: Programs of study (Program Coordinators) • Special notes: Intended for implementation within the facilities of planned permanent buildings • Timeframe: fall semester of 2010 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later 2. Serving Goal #2 Goal # 2: Provide support facilities for conferences and large-group meetings as well as classrooms Objective 1: Make available one auditorium that is fully equipped as a conference facility in support of invited lectures and seminars delivered on location or remotely • Responsibility: Administrative Assistant Director • Collaborating entities: Follow up with architectural office entrusted with planned permanent buildings • Special notes: For permanent buildings. • Timeframe: Fall semester of 2010 • Estimated cost: To be estimated lat 3


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Objective 2: Make available one specially-designed meeting room that is equipped with video and audio teleconferencing facilities • Responsibility: Admin Asst Director • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Make arrangements within current premises, and activate for local, regional and international linkage • Timeframe: Make operational in efficient and effective setup in spring semester 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 3: Equip e-classrooms appropriately with IT-based facilities, including audio, video and Internet services • Responsibility: CIO of the OIT • Collaborating entities: Programs of study (Program Coordinators) • Special notes: Make appropriate plans for planned permanent buildings • Timeframe: Fall semester of 2010 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

3. Serving Goal #3 Goal # 3: Build an IT environment that is accessible, scalable, sustainable and adaptable to change Objective 1: Make wireless Internet connectivity available to students and academic staff throughout all campus premises • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Expand current wireless service; Make service available throughout all locations of University premises • Timeframe: on going • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 2: Provide on-campus computer stations that are dedicated for use by students for online applications, including admission, course registration, grade appeal, and other functions • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: fall semester of 2010 • Special notes: Enhance Computer Lab resources for said service • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009; complete task by end May 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

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4. Serving Goal #4 Goal # 4: Facilitate student-based tasks and operations Objective 1: To enable the performance of certain tasks such as online admission, course registration, and payment of fees; all operations to be facilitated for remote tasking • Responsibility: Office of Admissions & Registration • Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group • Special notes: Enhance current resources, with emphasis on secure and reliable operations; Evaluate SIS system performance as employed by students • Timeframe: Survey student responses by end of semester of study • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 2: Request the procurement of student learning/study packs (textbooks, CDs; etc.) against payments via remote tasking • Responsibility: Learning Materials Unit • Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group • Special notes: Facilitate the procurement of study packs by students • Timeframe: Trials to be made in spring semester 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 3: Set up an interactive, voice-activated Help Desk that can offer helpful assistance via an automated system • • • • •

Responsibility: Academic Asst Director Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group Special notes: Install an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, and monitor performance Timeframe: Activate initial setup in spring semester 2009 Estimated cost: To be estimated later

Objective 4: Allow students to utilize the facilities provided by an integrated Learning Management System (ILMS) remotely from anywhere where they have access to an Internet service. This includes procuring an unofficial transcript, checking the submission of their TMAs, following up on their assigned grades for the TMAs and the Midterm Assessments/Quizzes; and, following up on applications submitted for financial aid, and petitions made for a grade appeal; etc.; thereby invoking the application of all subsystems of the Integrated LMS; i.e., use of the Student Information System (SIS), the Learning Management System (LMS), and the Student Support System (SSS).

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Responsibility: OIT/IT Group Collaborating entities: Programs of study; Admissions & Registration; Student Affairs; and Academic Advising & Counseling Special notes: These activities are multi-faceted, and require coordination and cooperation amongst the various units; Intent is to enhance current setup into more efficient operations Timeframe: Ongoing activities Estimated cost: To be estimated later

Objective 5: Build PDP Student Progress Files via the assigned Academic Advisors, to be updated on a continuing basis • Responsibility: Office of Academic Advising & Counseling • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: This is an urgent need for coordination with the OUVS • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 6: Follow up on an inquiry, a complaint, an offered suggestion • Responsibility: Academic Asst Director • Collaborating entities: Office of Admissions & Registration; Office of Student Affairs; and OIT/IT Group • Special notes: Make sure of the efficient operation of the Student Support System (SSS) • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 7: Establish communication links for facilitating office-hour engagement between students and tutors remotely; thereby creating office-hours online • Responsibility: Programs of study (Program Coordinators) • Collaborating entities: OIT/IT Group • Special notes: Ensure the application of efficient email and chat facilities, and student forums within the LMS facilities • Timeframe: Ongoing activities • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 8: Support dialogue e-forums for students, the tutors, and the university community via resources such as blogs • Responsibility: Academic Asst Director • Collaborating entities: Programs of study • Special notes: Utilize the integrated LMS facilities • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later 6


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5. Serving Goal #5 Goal # 5: Enhance the performance of institutional management and administrative operations Objective 1: Enable the different University and Branch units to execute and follow up on their assigned tasks efficiently; such units as the Office of Finance, Office of Personnel (HR data and activities), etc. • Responsibility: Branch Director • Collaborating entities: University admin units • Special notes: Utilize IT resources • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 1.a: Establish a dedicated Office of Student Financial Assistance • Responsibility: Branch Directors • Collaborating entities: Offices of Finance and Student Affairs • Special notes: Office to deal with issues of student loans, student grants, and tuition payments in installments • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009; complete task by end May 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 2: Assist the Student Learning Materials Unit in dispensing student study packs and receiving payments in flexible and efficient ways, including payments made at remote locations (banks; credit cards; e-payments; etc.) • Responsibility: Student Learning Materials Unit • Collaborating entities: Finance Offices • Special notes: Enhance the financial and the general ledger systems to operate in an integrated manner for the support of said activity • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 3: Facilitate the conduct of student and tutor surveys and evaluations by the Quality Assurance Office effectively and appropriately • Responsibility: QA Office/Unit • Collaborating entities: Program Coordinators • Special notes: Employ IT resources to facilitate the work of the QA office • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

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Objective 4: Assist the Office of Academic Advising & Counseling in building the Student Progress File as part of the student PDP (personal development program) activity • Responsibility: Office of Academic Advising & Counseling • Collaborating entities: Other entities of concern • Special notes: Make this activity a priority • Timeframe: Accomplish initial setups by April 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 5: Assist the Office of Career Guidance and Counseling in their tasks of building links of collaboration with external firms and organizations of interest • Responsibility: Office of Career Guidance • Collaborating entities: Programs of study • Special notes: Establish a roster of external links of firms and organizations • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 6: Establish an Alumni Office at each Branch • Responsibility: Branch Director • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Office to collaborate with the Office of Career Guidance • Timeframe: Spring semester 2009; complete task by end May 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

6. Serving Goal #6 Goal # 6: Utilize IT resources to support academic research Objective 1: Make IT resources an integral part of facilitating research and scholarly activities by faculty and graduate students • Responsibility: Director/Academic Asst Director • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Formulate a “research support plan: Plan to be in conformity with AOU research plans; and, enhance IT resources for support to academic research and scholarly activities; this would include the securing of e-library resources • Timeframe: Ongoing • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

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7. Serving Goal #7 Goal #7: Promote unified IT standards across AOU Branches Objective1: Identify certain IT-based activities for standardized operations practices; thereby facilitating sharing and exchange of data and information; including in a primary role the operation of the Student Information System (SIS) • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: This necessitates the formation of an IT Committee at the AOU level that is entrusted with establishing a general operational framework for said objective • Timeframe: Ongoing activities • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

8. Serving Goal #8 Goal #8: Adopt high-level IT system security Objective 1: Allow users to work in a secure environment • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Adopt proper IT facilities utilization policies • Timeframe: Complete formulation of policies by April 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later Objective 2: Utilizing upgradeable software packages for establishing a secure ITbased system • Responsibility: OIT/IT Group • Collaborating entities: N/A • Special notes: Adopt secure measures for systems operation and utilization by using appropriate systems security software packages • Timeframe: Identify required security systems by May 2009 • Estimated cost: To be estimated later

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January 4, 2009  

1. Serving Goal #1  Goal # 1: Build IT resources to support and enhance the delivery,   creation and transfer of knowledge and learning

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