Selecting Instructional Technologies
With the increasingly wide array of external third-party tools available online or through application downloads, it can be difficult to decide which ones are best for your courses and students. You may find solutions that provide a richer learning experience for your students than what is currently available at VCU.
It is important to ensure that all tools adhere to VCU data integrity and security policies, offer an equitable learning environment for our students and minimize university and student costs. The university has procedures in place for the analysis, comparison and acquisition of instructional technology solutions. The university also has designated staff to support and maintain these solutions.
The use of university-supported technologies is strongly recommended to ensure they adhere to information security policies; provide a consistent, quality learning environment for all students; avoid or minimize additional student fees; minimize university costs for licensing; and deliver reliable and timely support.
- Reduce Costs
- Manage a list of tools in use to avoid having multiple tools that offer the same or similar features.
- Cost to the university increases, along with the ability to effectively manage those costs.
- Provide Support
- Provide quality and timely support and maintenance.
- Work with the vendors on your behalf.
- Review vendor tools for accessibility, security and quality.
- Student Cost, usability, licensing
- Ensure students have consistency in their learning environment
- Ensure that students are not incurring fees for unapproved tools, and for multiple tools that have serve the same or similar purpose
- Information Security and Data Management
- VCU record management policies for data retention and removal
- Some solutions may collect or transfer FERPA or other personal and confidential information, which is not compliant with university policies.
- Any information uploaded could potentially be accessible on the public web, and could also violate copyright laws.
- VCU policies and procedures ensure tools are compliant and vendors are held accountable for adhering to these policies.
Evaluation and Purchase of Instructional Technology Solutions
The following Academic Technologies’ procedures are required for the evaluation and purchase of instructional technology solutions as defined in the Commonwealth of Virginia Procurement Manual for Institutions of Higher Education and their Vendors. Additional information and questions should be directed to the VCU Office of Procurement Services.
- Contact the VCU Office of Procurement Services to ask if a Request for Proposal (RFP) is required.
- If no, skip to step 5 below.
- If yes, continue to step 2 and begin the processes for recruiting committee members.
- Announce that the Project is beginning and contact stakeholders to solicit RFP committee members. Stakeholders include, but are not limited to:
- Faculty Senate
- Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE)
- Academic Learning Transformation Lab (ALTlab)
- VCU Online
- Office of the Provost
- Technology Services CIO and Directors
- Technology Service's Advisory Committees
- Convene the RFP Committee. Acquiring personnel for an RFP committee, scheduling meetings and vendor demonstrations could take 1-2 months depending on the type and cost of the solution. Once the committee submits their recommendation via the required documents, it could take 2-4 additional months for procurement to negotiate a contract and obtain all required approvals.
- The RFP Committee will:
- Meet with Procurement representatives as needed.
- Draft the RFP, in collaboration with the VCU procurement representative.
- Submit the proposal to the VCU Office of Procurement Services, who will post the RFP for bids for the recommended number of days.
- Review proposals, set up demonstrations and hands-on trials as needed.
- Discuss and vote on a solution.
- Submit a formal recommendation, with references.
- After concluding demonstrations and hands-on trials as needed, the Chair of the RFP Committee will draft and submit the IT Governance Procurement Proposal, which must include the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and the Higher Education Cloud Vendor Assessment Tool (HECVAT).
- Once approved by IT Governance (approximately 10-15 days), the RFP Committee Chair will provide the approval tracking number to procurement.
- The VCU Office of Procurement Services begins contract negotiations (approximately 2-3 months).
- Once contract negotiations are completed, the TS Fiscal Admins work with the RFP Committee Chair, selected vendor and the Office of Procurement Services to complete the payment of the invoice. Please note that funding needs to be identified and obtained before TS Fiscal Admins can begin their work.
- If there is a Learning Management System (LMS) integration or other technology-related component (i.e. single sign-on, security considerations, quality assurance testing), those will be completed by Technology Services.
- Once all the above is completed, approved and production-ready, communication about the new solution will begin.
- Communication outlets include, but are not limited to: VCU Telegram, social media, websites, listservs, blogs, newsletters, email to specific departments or individuals, etc.
- These communications may require the development of marketing and promotional graphics and materials.
- Information and support materials will be created and shared via the TS askIT Knowledge Base.
- Any vendor-provided, in-house or other training will be scheduled and communicated.