Feasibility Study for a Statewide Higher Education Information Technology
State of Connecticut, September 18, 1996
Problem Statement and Impact
- The State of Connecticut feels that the
capabilities of its system of higher education are not
fully realized by residents of the State, as well as by
individuals living in other states.
Impact: The networks deployed
in other states have been an important factor in attracting
students and private industry to those states (and away from
Connecticut). The quality of education in Connecticut is
viewed as inferior to other states, resulting in a loss of
potential revenue (i.e., economic growth) from both students
and private corporations.
- The State of Connecticut leads most states
in the net export of students seeking higher education.
While this is not necessarily a problem, it may relate to
Connecticut's competitive position in the higher
education arena nationwide. A statewide network could
have a positive impact on higher education's ability to
attract both Connecticut and out of state students.
Impact: When students
leave the State of Connecticut for higher education, they
often do not return to the State upon graduation.
Consequently, a net export of students means an export of
knowledge, tax revenue, and workforce.
- Many sectors of the state do not have easy
access to higher education resources due to geography,
physical limitations, time schedules, monetary
Impact: These individuals are
being denied the opportunity to seek the educational
experiences that they desire and/or need. A statewide network
would make a distance learning program a viable alternative
to all individuals seeking higher education, but unable to
attend conventional classes. In essence, such a network would
help to level the educational playing field across the
- The inter-institution connectivity method
in place today (i.e. the Internet) has several
- Limited bandwidth
- Lacks reliability
- Not a secure transport mechanism.
Impact: The current
environment will support the transmission of data traffic
between institutions, but it is not ideal for sensitive
information, and it does not support interactive video. If
the state wants to deploy a fully interactive method of
distance learning, a different network infrastructure is
- The scope of this project is to examine a
network infrastructure to be used only by the
institutions of higher education. In order to provide
maximum utility, such a network should also provide
connectivity to K-12, libraries, museums, and private
Impact: Without connectivity
to K-12, libraries, museums, and private corporations, a
statewide higher education network will have several
- Failure to maximize the educational
experience by limiting the availability of
on-line resources (this includes research material,
catalogs, courses, instructors, etc.)
- Connecticut will miss out on the
opportunity to familiarize K-12 students with the
offerings of Connecticut's higher education system.
This familiarity could help keep these students in
the state when they are looking for a higher
- The State of Connecticut needs to
coordinate higher education's efforts of creating a
network infrastructure with the efforts of K-12, and
public libraries. Without coordination, totally separate
networks will most likely be created for each.
Impact: If networks for
higher education, K-12, and the public libraries are created
independent of one another, several issues may arise:
- The State of Connecticut will not be
able to fully capitalize on economies of scale
when purchasing software, hardware, and carrier
- The different networks may not be
completely interoperable due to divergent product
standards and technologies. This is especially
important where video services are involved.