Requesting Software for College of Engineering Courses
It is CAEN's mission to support the most efficient and effective use of software in CAEN computer labs to improve the quality of teaching and education within the College of Engineering. CAEN is available to assist Engineering faculty interested in exploring how commercial software packages, or those developed at other universities, can be integrated into courses. CAEN staff members research various software sources to find solutions that address course needs, and oversee software installation and implementation into the CAEN Lab Software Environment (CLSE).
CAEN can assist in the acquisition of instructional software by providing up to 50 percent cost-sharing on both initial purchases as well as ongoing software maintenance for software used as part of a regular instructional program of the College of Engineering. The balance of funds that are not provided by CAEN must come from departmental funds or individual faculty discretionary funds. Software cost-sharing requests must also be approved by the Director of CAEN, Mark Giuffrida. If funds are not available in the current budget year, approved requests will be given top priority in the next budget year. Final negotiations for software terms and conditions from the vendor should be done in consultation with CAEN in order to obtain the most favorable terms for the College of Engineering.
Adding or upgrading software in the CLSE represents a significant effort by CAEN. Our annual schedule allows for core operating systems and software to be installed and tested by May, so the rest of the summer can be used to configure, test, and distribute software packages to be ready in computer labs for the upcoming academic year. In order for CAEN to adequately plan this work, we must know, with substantial lead-time, which packages are required for Engineering courses. Early notice is especially required for new packages or updates of existing applications that are to be used in large enrollment or critical courses.
The platforms that CAEN deploys in the CLSE (Microsoft Windows & Red Hat Linux) present their own challenges, and in many cases installing a package on a single computer is not an adequate predictor of problems that can occur when installing it on a server or hundreds of computers in the lab environment. Also, while a given software package may be configured for use by a specific course, it may not be set up to work for other courses, because other modules may be required and have not been tested. When specific plug-ins or add-on modules are required for specific uses and system-level files are updated, CAEN staff must also re-test all previously installed software to ensure they still operate as expected.
Since new software is installed or updated for the academic year prior to the Fall term, very few changes can be made during the Fall or Winter terms. Hence, CAEN staff must allow as much time as possible when preparing for each Fall term. CAEN requires this time not only for its own work, but in order to provide time for testing by faculty and instructors before the term begins. CAEN is unable to exhaustively test each application on its own. Testing is important since the installation of one application could modify common files, and affect the operation of other applications. This presents a problem, especially when software requests are made during the term and can affect the ongoing work of other courses.
For the above reasons, CAEN has established the following deadlines for requests to install new software in the CAEN Lab Software Environment. Please take these deadlines into consideration when developing a course plan around a software package that CAEN does not already provide:
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Even if the version of software you would like to run in a given term is not available by these dates, you must advise CAEN of your requirements prior to these dates so staff will be prepared for the challenge. In some cases, an earlier version of software may need to be installed as an alternative.
Faculty and course instructors interested in submitting software for distribution in CAEN computer labs must fill out CAEN's course software request form. Submissions of all course software must be provided in a usable state. The course instructor bears the responsibility to test the software, and ensure that it functions properly in the CAEN Lab Software Environment.