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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Government shutdown could halt student tech upgrades

Shutdown threat puts cutting-edge student tech at risk, KEYC says.

By Brittany Larson, KEYC-TV News Reporter [broadcast on KEYC-TV, North Mankato, MN, 7/9/2011]

It's usually quiet during the summer months at Minnesota State Mankato, but for the Information Technology Services department, it's the busiest time of the year. Each summer they have a number of upgrades and projects in place.

But a possible government shutdown could hinder their efforts. A state government shutdown would idle more than just state workers.

"A shutdown would dampen our projects and almost create a domino affect where projects would be pushed back," says Bryan Hoffman of the Academic Computer Center. "But our department is really working hard as a team to get these projects done as fast and as quick as we can."

The department has already allocated money for summer projects and has purchased the equipment. The equipment is on its way, shutdown or no shutdown, but people need to be there to do the work and install the new equipment.

"Without people we are not able to complete the work that needs to be done," says Mark Johnson, vice president for Information Technology Services. "We're hoping that doesn't happen, but if it does happen, it definitely will set us back."

Many of the countless upgrades and replacements are focused on collaborative learning, where students can display their ideas from their laptops onto a large monitor.

Rather than a typical classroom setting, this will become a group collaborative learning center -- one of the biggest technology projects IT is working on, hoping to have it completed in the fall.

"This is great for existing students but also incoming freshman," says Hoffman. "The new classroom is an innovative,  collaborative environment for students to learn, and it's very exciting for our staff and everyone involved."

In the meantime, it's about waiting for a resolution between lawmakers.

"If there is a shutdown and if we're part of it, as soon as it's resolved we want to get right back at it, because it's really a matter of people working on technology and getting it implemented for classes and students next year," Johnson says.

Then students again can experience Minnesota State Mankato as a technology leader that provides a great learning environment.

For the KEYC-TV video, click on

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