Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the first mailing of “NACS-News”, the electronic newsletter of the Network & Academic Computing Services. Our goals for NACS-News are to regularly share important information about our services, organization and activities; and to share our observations about the rapidly changing environment of computing and electronic communication.

Two themes will most likely dominate campus discussion of computing and electronic communication during the next several months.

First, the distinction between computing and communication will become smaller every day. I am fond of saying that the box on our desk that was once called a computer is, in reality, a communication device. We use that box to communicate with each other through a variety of multimedia modes (today with text and graphics, and tomorrow with voice and video), and to interact with on-line data sources for research, educational and administrative purposes. These communication capabilities already are changing the way the university functions. Two years ago, few of us knew of the World Wide Web. Today most of us use a WWW browser as our primary tool for accessing electronic information; I suspect that most of us have little idea of what computing and communication tools we will be using two years from now.

Second, the campus is committed to the development of the Electronic Educational Environment. All universities are challenged today with the introduction of educational technology into the curriculum. At UCI this takes the form of improved electronic communication between and among faculty and students, and of access to information in electronic form. We will be challenged to provide an adequate number of access points and server/infrastructure capacity for our students, to provide training to thousands of new students in basic electronic communication and information retrieval skills, and to provide to our graduates the skills and wisdom to survive and prosper in the new information era. Another challenge will be to provide sufficient personnel both at the department level and within NACS to maintain the electronic educational environment.

In order not to overwhelm your already crowded electronic “in basket”, we will post to NACS-News no more frequently than once a week.

If you have any questions about NACS services or activities, please send an electronic mail message to our service address, nacs@uci.edu. You are also encouraged to contact myself, or Associate Director Dana Roode (DRoode@uci.edu), at any time, with issues of concern to you, or to share observations or recommendations concerning NACS services.

William Parker
Director, Network & Academic Computing Services
WHParker@uci.edu