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What we've got and what we're doing with it

To describe what technology we've got is much more difficult than it was in 1986, or in 1981 for that matter. In 1981 only 1/5 of the workstations were microcomputers. Computer users sat in front of a terminal; college users dialed into a mainframe located at the district office. Student users were mostly programming students, though some used MINITAB, and some ran tutorials using an in-house authoring language, TEACH. The mainframe could handle about 90 users at a time, though a person could wait 1-2 minutes (!) for a response after hitting the RETURN key.

By 1986 we were comfortably dispersed into distributed computing. A network of VAXes connected administrative users throughout the district. At that time about 1/5 of the administrative desktop units were micros, the rest terminals. Administrative computing applications were distributed on the network of VAXes.

Faculty and students were using, typically, microcomputers. For the most part these were stand-alone systems, not connected to the VAX network, nor networked to each other. In that sense academic computing in 1986 was "dispersed" computing. In 1986 there was, perhaps, only one local area network, in which the chief advantage was a shared laser printer.

In the period of time 1986-1993 several developments have taken place. Fueled by funds from the 1984 bond, the colleges have made enormous investments in technology.

Among the most important developments, early in this time-frame, were improvements in our technology infrastructure. We invested in an Ethernet backbone at each college, rewiring each building to give improved voice and data access to each office and classroom. Broadband systems were installed to provide video delivery across the colleges. And a microwave network for voice, data and video was built to improve the speed and quality of communications among the colleges.

It's a River, Not a Lake: What we've got...
© January 1994 Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI)
Maricopa Community Colleges

The Internet Connection at MCLI is Alan Levine --}
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