2003 Conference Proceedings

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ACCESS TO ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES- ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE AND TOOLS

Presenter
Margaret Londergan
Indiana University
2711 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47408
Email: londerga@indiana.edu

Resources of an adaptive technology facility like the one that I developed at Indiana University are limited….both staffing as well as technology resources. To effectively manage these resources I have developed effective budgeting practices and management, accessible on-line systems to manage technology resources, and creative, leveraged technology loaner programs to put adaptive technology in the hands of students, faculty and staff that would benefit from it.

Prior to development of our system we examined many other project management systems but found none that combined all the features that we needed to track our projects as well as staffing and technology resources. It seemed best to develop a system specifically for an adaptive technology service environment.

Because employees who are blind are valued and important staff members, it was important that this system be accessible to these staff members.

Adaptive Technology Center staffing at Indiana University - Bloomington is largely provided by student workers including as many with disabilities as possible. Because of the wide variety of client based services provided by a very part time hourly staff, as well as the wide variety of adaptive technology a comprehensive management system was developed. The system is usable and accessible to staff members who are blind. It includes the following features:

  1. project mangement to track progress on a wide variety of technology exploration, client service, grant application, application development, and presentation projects
  2. contact management system to track client information and appointments
  3. inventory system to track all adaptive technology hardware, software and office supplies
  4. loaner/checkout system to track loans of adaptive hardware, software and ergonomic furniture
  5. ebook library system

The code was developed in visual basic and took over a year to develop. However, the results are outstanding in terms of bringing order to the management practices of a diverse service and project environment like one tasked with providing adaptive technology education and services to a major university.

The full-time staffing for the Adaptive Technology Center is two full-time employees. The remainder of the services are provided by student staff with extremely varied working hours. The on-line accessible on-line project management system is designed to track projects as assigned across staff that may never work a shift together making whole staff meeting impossible. By keeping postings to the project system current, all staff can be aware of the status of all projects for the Adaptive Technology Center. The manager of the Center reviews project status across all projects weekly or more often if necessary. The system assists with effective allocation of staffing resource across current and future projects. This also helps with planning for staffing hires which varies throughout the year based on availability of student workers.

The contact management portion of the on-line system keeps track of all client service information . While no details of specific disabilities are noted as this information is managed by the Disabled Student Services Office, records about adaptive technology equipment and software loans and trainings are kept including a service record for each client for the duration of their enrollment as students at the university.

Inventory tracking is key to being able to provide users as well as staff with access to adaptive hardware, software and training. The Center keeps a wide variety of peripherals, ergonomic furniture, and adaptive applications on hand. Inventory tracking for each item purchased or otherwise acquired for the Center includes the following: location and storage information, loan status, purchase information, license count information, application version information, service contract information, feature information for desktop, server and laptop computers. By creating a system that accurately captures all this information we never have to wonder who has the Roadrunner or the CD with Co-Writer software on it.

Because one way to get students, faculty and staff to realize the potential of adpative technology, is to get it into their hands on a trial basis, the Adaptive Technology Center at Indiana University - Bloomington has an active loaner program. All items that are available for loan are tagged with Adaptive Technology Center tags and IU library bar codes. Loaned items are checked out through the ATC loaner system which allows personal tracking and messaging about due dates for loaned items. In addition, items are checked out through the IU library system using the library bar codes. The value in this is as a cross reference for loaned items and, more importantly, because library loans are tied into the bursar system. Consequently, loaned items that are not returned are billed for at the replacement cost of the item. Few items have not been returned. Those that have not been returned have been paid for with funds coming back to the Adaptive Technology Center.

The extensive and growing collection of electronic textbooks created by the Adaptive Technology Center is managed by a cataloging system specific to the needs of the center. This electronic text inventory is consequently available to all Center workers to aid in answering questions about availability of specific etexts as well to facilitate rapid delivery of on-hand electronic text to qualifying students, faculty and staff.

With limited staff, varied working hours, multiple types of client services and a wide variety of adaptive applications and hardware, an accessible on-line management system has made it possible for the Adaptive Technology Center to continue to expand service offerings as well as to explore new technologies. The system would benefit anyone working in the area of adaptive technology service delivery.


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