Terms of the annual software review

IT Services perform an annual software review to identify the applications that will be needed for teaching and learning in the next academic year.

We consult with schools and the library to confirm details of new applications that are required and identify any programs that are no longer needed. We then coordinate the process to determine how the software requirements will be funded and supported. The result is an agreed list of applications needed on all of the student and teaching computers that are managed by IT Services.

This list is then used to build and test the standard student desktop which will be installed on over 1,000 student computers during the summer vacation. Because of the scale and complexity of this process, the annual review process is vital. It is not usually possible to add software to student computers at other times of the year.

The budget for software is limited and central funds are generally intended for software that will be used widely across the University. More specialist software is often funded by particular Schools, or groups of Schools and, if licences are limited, may be restricted to computers in specific locations. Where possible however, software funded as part of the review will be made available for all members of the University.

The term 'software' is interepreted widely to include, for example, browser plugins and software components for more complex applications. Operating systems and core applications such as Windows and Microsoft Office are assessed by IT Services; we will identify the appropriate software based on the needs of the University as a whole.

The focus of the software review is to meet the teaching and learning requirements of the University. Tutors are therefore particularly encouraged to consider the software needed for their courses. All requests for addition and withdrawal of applications must be made with the approval of a Head of School.

The budget to fund software provision is limited and does not include the capacity to cover special subject interests. We may not be able to support new software without removing programs that are no longer required. It will help any case (though the decision will depend partly on the requirements of other groups) if candidates for removal can be identified.

The adoption of any item of software carries implications for installation, maintenance and user support. Again, this may require the removal of other items.

Where a group has special requirements and is willing to purchase appropriate software using its own funds, we may be able to arrange for this to be installed on ITS-managed machines.

New staff computers will have a standard desktop based on the student version and will therefore reflect many of the choices made during the review. However, the software installed on staff computers is often tailored to meet the specific requirements of a role.

Student computers

The review covers software intended for student computers managed by IT Services including:

  • PCs and Macs in campus computer rooms and open plan areas of the Library
  • lecturers' PCs in seminar and lecture rooms
  • PCs with assistive technology in Shawcross and the Library

The review does not include computers funded and managed directly by schools.