Correction: The original version of this article contained an error. Cinthia Loera is a fourth-year Chicana/o studies student.
A technological fee increase is expected to be implemented today following a vote by the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
The Instructional Enhancement Initiative fee, which is charged to students quarterly, funds undergraduate technology, such as course websites, wireless Internet, computer labs and staffing of technological support.
Students taking courses in the College of Letters and Sciences are currently charged $6 per unit, while students in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are charged $7 per unit. Courses in other schools do not have the fee.
The fee will increase to $8 per unit for courses using information technology, regardless of the college.
Previously, the instructional enhancement fee only applied to the College of Letters and Science and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, but will now extend to all other undergraduate schools that utilize information technology, said Jim Davis, vice provost of information technology.
Davis said the increase is needed to maintain existing technological services and to meet demand for new technologies in the classroom and websites. He added that it is the result of a long process of discussion among faculty, administration and students which addressed the escalating demand for information technology.
“Both faculty and students are significantly expanding their desire for using (these technologies) in the classroom,” Davis said.
Additional funds derived from the fee increase are projected to be about $3.3 million annually, increasing the current instructional enhancement funds from $7.2 million to $10.5 million after all of the increases, Davis said.
The committee initially approved the fee increase last spring quarter with the condition that an implementation plan be presented to them in the fall. It received the implementation plan at their Oct. 20 meeting.
Students on the committee were concerned about making sure the funds resulting from the increased fees would benefit students, said Cinthia Loera, a fourth-year Chicana/o studies student and chair of the fee advisory committee.
Three main technological enhancements will be implemented following the approval of the increased fee ““ improving course websites, expanding electronic lecture capture and creating mobile applications.
As a result of the fee increase, undergraduate students taking classes offered by the Anderson School of Management will have access to business databases available to students.
The School of Nursing, meanwhile, plans to use the fees to implement new simulators for demonstrating nursing procedures in classes.
The new funds will also go to creating smartphone applications to replace multiple participation clickers used in some courses.
Students on the committee expressed their support for the creation of new mobile application because it would alleviate the need to purchase clickers for classes, Loera said.
The UCLA Common Collaboration and Learning Environment, an information technology that facilitates internet-based collaboration needs, is used by about 26,000 students, Davis said. The additional funds from the instructional fee increase are aimed at funding CCLE permanently and enhancing its capabilities by adding better navigations and additional resources, he said.
A second project that will benefit from the additional funds is electronic lecture capture capabilities, Davis said. The money will make it possible for a wider variety of courses to offer video and audio footage of lectures.
Jesse Orrall, a second-year undeclared student, said he frequently uses the resources provided by course websites. Orrall said a film class he took last quarter required videos on the course website, and he was able to conveniently watch them on his personal laptop.
Also, audio podcasts will be able to be administered by trained teaching assistants in smaller courses of 20 students or less.