Texas A&M University-Commerce
Department of Educational Leadership

ETEC 579 Administration of
Media Technology Programs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list

 Instructor: Dr. Jason Lee Davis

Q: How do I access the on-line text from off campus?
A: 1. Go to A&M Commerce website
2. Click on Library
3. Click on Library Databases - Proxy Server
4. Enter login credentials:
      username - libproxy
      password - stars      (...Summer 2006 only)
      Click Submit Query
5. Click on LION Online catalog (to the left)
6. Under "Search for", select title and enter "Managing Media Services"
7. Scroll down where it says HTTP (near the bottom) and click where it says - An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web
8. Click on View this eBook
   
Q: What's the best way to view the on-line text?
A: Be sure that you "View this eBook" rather than "Checkout for 3 days.". Checking out locks a virtual copy the book for up to three days. I believe we only have two virtual copies so we can't afford to have them inaccessible for extended periods.
It also appears that viewing the book decrements the number of available copies, but only while the text is being accessed. So, be sure to click "Close item" as soon as you are finished accessing the eBook to ensure that it will be available for others as soon as possible.
If you attempt to access the book and it is "not available," wait a few minutes and try again. It most likely means that all available copies are currently being accessed. This is a larger 579 group than usual, so the likelihood of this situation is greater this semester. Please be patient, but DO NOT wait 'til the last minute to try to access the book if you need it for completion of your quiz. Announced deadlines will be observed.
   
Q: I have reviewed the examples, but is there any other helpful hints on how to get started on the projects?
A: The most difficult part of nearly any job is getting started. Don't over-stress on this.
I suggest that you copy the required element list from the guidelines and paste them into your document. Then just start brainstorming on each of the items and put down anything you can think of under each. Use the example projects for ideas of the kinds of things to include in each section. This will get something on the page you can work from. If you don't like it, or decide you don't need it later, the delete key comes in very handy.
Once you get something in the document you can start manipulating it into what you want. If you're writing it for your school, print out what you've come up with and solicit a colleague or two for suggestions to make it better fit your application. This can also set the groundwork for a relationship with stakeholders if you have the opportunity to continue with it later. Having something to show and inquire about will also allow you to ask more specific questions about what your school wants and needs to start filling in the gaps. If you're fabricating your institution, you have a bit of creative freedom.
   
Q: I have looked at several tech plans from educational sources. They all sound very similar. Do we need to document information that is similar to another plan or is the similarity just part of the format. For example they are all "enhancing the quality of instruction...."  In other words, if I have written something that sounds like, or contains information that is similar to, other technology plans when do I document and when don't I. Everything I had written sounds like things that have already been created.
A: This is a question an author must answer with any writing. This is not an issue unique to Tech Plans, Grant Proposals, or any other type of writing. When you are writing a type of document which is commonly written there is expected to be some parallels in format and possible content. In the case of a Tech Plan, or Grant Proposal, It is likely that similar documents will contain similar language by virtue of the document's focus. This is understood within the profession and APA style generally dictates how this is handled. Anytime you directly quote another document, correct credit of citation must be provided. Paraphrasing work of others also calls for a reference. If work is obviously an original thought, rather than something that shows up in every similar document you run across, it must be credited appropriately.
   
Q: I am working on my Tech plan and looking over the goals in our guideline. Can some of the goals be together or do they need to be separate entities?
A: So long as the required elements are included, they may be reordered or combined as necessary to fit the "flow" of your document.
   
Q: When listing numbers on items, what is appropriate for the tech plan--to spell out the number or use the digit?
For example: the library currently has 4 computers or the library currently has four computers? Or does it makes a difference if used in a paragraph or listed as part of purchases?
A: Generally, numbers less than 10 are spelled out with words while numbers ten or greater are shown in figure form. There are a variety of specific exceptions in APA, but four is to be spelled out in your example.
Anytime a number is used to start a sentence, it should be spelled out. Numerals may be used for values less than 10 if it is used to directly compare to something with a value greater than 10. APA (5th ed.) sections 3.42-3.49 beginning on pg. 122 identify the specifics of number usage.
If the number four is used in a statistical application, or part of list of items, the numeral 4 is used.
   
Q: I am running into trouble separating the history and the current status.  I'm finding it difficult to tell the history of technology without getting into the current technology.  How do I differentiate between these elements?
A: These elements are intended to map out the evolution of technology utilization. Think of the history as "how 'modern' technology was first implemented" and current as "what we are doing today in terms of technology." These two elements will likely flow together as they tell the story to transition from where you've been to where you are now to where you're going.
   
Q: Do we need a fair use statement in our technology plan?
A: You wouldn't necessarily need to include one in your tech plan, if you're referring to fair use as related to copyright. Fair use must be addressed and compliance assured on a case by case basis as materials are considered for use. If you foresee the use of a particular media content item far enough in advance to include it in a technology plan the implication is that you have time to secure appropriate permission and/or licensing and fair use principles are not applicable.
   
Q: I am a little confused about citing references for our tech plan.  I know that any direct quotations from outside sources must be cited.  However; if we used the examples that the instructor posted as just that, examples to look at, do we need to cite that? What if we visited websites and read the information just to get ideas, do we site that?
A: It is NOT a requirement that you have references.  It IS are requirement that IF you DO, they are properly cited.
If you use any content, ideas, concepts, thoughts, etc. from any other source, either directly quoted, or paraphrased, credit must be given to the source. There are a few exceptions outlined over several pages in the APA manual so I can't address all of them here. To avoid being guilty of the "P" word, it is advisable to err on the side of caution when considering citations.
There is such a thing as overdoing it. This is considered bad by APA. That is... citing a source in the reference list simply because you looked at it during the writing process. This in itself does not warrant a citation. Cite sources only if you directly extract information from that source for inclusion in your document. Again, if you do not pull information from the source, do not cite it in your references.
Now, to address one special case that typically crops up in these projects. Do you cite information from the district for which are writing (or whatever entity applies in your case)?
An example of this would be: You want to include the district's mission and/or vision and/or goals statement. This can be a bit of a grey area depending on how the district uses the statement and what policies they have governing it's use. Generally, such a statement is used in official publications of the district. The way this relates to you is that your intention is to author an 'official' document for your district. Thus, to anyone reading your plan, it is not actually seen as your plan, but rather the district's plan. In this sense, it is not necessary to cite the statement since the author is the 'owner' of the statement.
If you are authoring a plan for a smaller subdivision of the district, such as a campus, program, library, etc. and you state the district's mission/vision/goals statement is should be identified as such in the text so the reader will be clear that the statement is designed to a broader specification than your plan is addressing. An entry in the ref list is probably not necessary. You may also have your own mission/vision/goals that is specific to the level at which your are focusing your plan.
Whew!
This may seem like a lot, and it is. The volume speaks to the complexity of our legal system when it comes to copyright issues and the seriousness of plagiarism in academe.
   
Q: In reading the APA rules on headings, I am still not clear how to do them. Should all the headings (Justification, Target, etc.) be centered or aligned with the left-side margin? All caps or bold?
A: Heading are somewhat confusing in APA. The formatting of headings varies with the number of heading levels you are using. APA has specific formats for 1 thru 5 levels of heading. Most proposal documents use only two or three levels of heading.
For two levels of heading, APA level 1 and level 3 are used. Thus the main heading (APA level 1) is centered and uses upper- and lower-case letters. The second level (APA level 3) is left justified, italicized, and uses upper- and lower case letters.
If a third level is used, it is identified as APA level 4 and is indented from the left margin, italicized, and uses upper- and lower-case letters.
In accordance with these rules, the title is the main heading for the proposal and would be centered. Sub-headings such as 'Justification,' Target,' etc. would be APA level 3 headings and left justified as described above.
Reference: Publication Manual of the APA 5th ed., pp. 114-115.
Odd thing about the APA manual... Bold face is not addressed in the headings section (all heading examples are shown standard face) BUT in the manual itself, the headings are in a bold typeface.
Hmmmmmm?
APA style applies primarily to manuscripts, theses, dissertations, and similar writings. We borrow many things from APA in other forms of writing: technical, books, etc. Particularly when it comes to citations. In writing outside the focus of the APA style guide, we sometimes find it necessary to take a few liberties with our writing. In this instance, for instance. (Was that redundant?) Oh well...
   
Q: I am writing a technology plan for my school's library. When writing about the history of technology utilization, should it be only about the library or should it include the school?
A: The technology of the entire school doesn't have to be elaborate, but you should touch on enough that it is evident how the technology implementation in the library fits into the school's big technology picture. Any technology plan written for a sub-division of a larger entity should compliment the upper level plan and fit within the umbrella or framework set forth in that document. Remember, you may have to make some assumptions for the sake of our projects.
   
Q: I have put a lot of thought and effort into this plan, but I'm still left feeling it isn't "beefy" enough.  What should I do?
A A Tech Plan is much like the Grant Proposal in that less is more, if properly written. "Beefy" is OK, so long as it doesn't grow into "fluffy." ...and there is a fine line. If you're not used to doing technical writing you might feel that it is a bit thin, when in actuality, it is appropriate for the type of document.  Even some professionally produced documents tend to be vastly overwritten.  Don't think that you have to produce great volumes of content for this project, particularly at the draft phase. It is far better to use fewer words, but make every word count. You will have a better feel for your document after reviewing a couple of others and receiving feedback on your own. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process.
   
Q: Am I correct in thinking that both the Tech Plan and the Grant proposal are on the same topic?
A: Your Grant Proposal will compliment your Tech Plan in that you will identify some specific need addressed in your Tech Plan and seek funding for that project through grant funding.  You will not likely be able to fund an entire plan through this grant proposal.  Pick something for which you would need greater financial assistance and you can best build a case of need for the proposal project.
   
Q: In looking at the examples, it looks as though the proposal purpose statement should be in the executive summary section of the pre-proposal. Am I correct in this thought??
A: Typically, the executive summary is written by the chief executive officer directly responsible for daily oversight of the entity submitting the grant application. This may be a superintendent, assistant superintendent, principle, CEO, Chief of Operations, etc., depending on the setting.
You can choose to provide this official with the statement so that it may be presented by him/her in the summary or you may present it immediately following the executive summary in a short introduction to the project, particularly if the executive summary doesn't sufficiently serve as a project introduction.
For the purposes of this project assignment, feel free to play the role of the official and write an executive summary, or skip the executive summary and include an introduction with the understanding that at which time the proposal is to be submitted the appropriate official would be solicited to write a brief summary to be inserted at the beginning of the document.
I'm giving you a little flexibility here.
   
Q: Do we have to include a reference page?  Some of the examples did and some did not.
A: You will only need a reference page if you have cited material. Otherwise, no.
   
Q: On the budget part, do we need to break it down into each year and how we're going to use the money or just make one chart with all three years together?
A: When submitting a grant proposal, the funding agency typically awards the funds in phases. These may be by semester or annually, depending on the grant. You will need to have the project expenditures broken down accordingly. A clear way of presenting the budget is breaking it down by type of expenditure in each year/phase, then show the local matching contribution, then total it up to show the overall project budget. Remember that 10% local matching funds are expected on most grants.
   
Q: I have looked at all of the examples provided by the instructor.  Some of the examples had potential funding sources listed and some did not.   Do we need to find a specific potential funding source for this grant proposal?
A: If you have identified a specific funding source appropriate for your proposal you may identify it; however, it is not required. The goal of a pre-proposal for an unsolicited grant is to have a document that could be submitted to any number of possible funding entities. In that respect, the document needs to remain generic.
   
Q: There seems to be some variation of the formatting between the various example projects.  What format should I follow?
A: The example proposals that I have provided were written to almost the same guidelines as I have provided for your enjoyment this semester. The only significant exception is the inclusion of ADA considerations in more recent assignments.  APA format is required for citations; however, I generally allow a more relaxed format when it comes to the issue of single- versus double-spacing. Note that 10pt font and double-spacing is mentioned in the guidelines; but, I won't rake you over the coals if it's single-spaced so long as the content is arranged in a legible and consistent format. If in doubt about how to do something, go with the APA recommended structure.
However, keep in mind that this isn't a manuscript intended for journal publication, as is the main focus of APA. Rather, it is a technical document which may call for an occasional departure from strict APA guidelines.
   
Q: Is it necessary to identify every aspect of what will be needed to implement the plan. For instance, if I am seeking funding for handhelds for all teachers and a handheld classroom lab with Internet capabilities. How do I address the Internet portion of this project. I have no idea what would be needed on my campus. It may be in the works and I don't even know about it. Our Tech Director is not currently available, so, it would be difficult to pin down answers.
A: To facilitate the completion of your project, you may take some 'liberties' with the status of projects and technology availability at your institution. You may have to make some creative assumptions. Before you actually submit your proposal for funding, you will have to involve stakeholders and include accurate information. This project will give a framework from which to start that process. Don't 'bug' those people whose cooperation and support you will need later on to help tweak your plan for submission to a funding agency.
   
Q: Would the purchase of software by the local PTO count as an in-kind contribution or local funding? Is local funding strictly district funds? What about solicitations from area businesses-is that counted as in-kind contributions or just additional funding? Can either be counted as matching funds?
A: In terms of grants, in-kind contributions are generally considered to the be the contribution of physical items, equipment, supplies, or other property (non-cash). The contributor and institution would need to agree on an acceptable value of the item(s). These are tax-deductible, just as cash, with official documentation. This can actually be a helpful 'begging-point' when soliciting in-kind contributions. What you would consider the contribution from the PTO depends on the form in which it is awarded. If they are giving you software they purchased, it is considered an in-kind contribution. If they are giving you cash, for the purpose of purchasing software, it is considered a monetary contribution. Some grants will allow in-kind contributions to count toward matching funds; otherwise, it would be to your advantage to receive a cash contribution from the PTO, or other organization, which will count toward matching local funds. Once guaranteed money is 'gifted' to the institution, is becomes local funds to do with as the institution sees fit, or in accordance with any stipulations or conditions set forth by the contributor.

In summary:
Monetary contributions = cash
In-kind contributions = physical items with an agreed value
Local funds = monies acquired locally, in the institution's operating budget, or otherwise controlled exclusively by the institution.
   
Q: How do we locate prices for the equipment we need? Just through Internet searching?  Does it matter that our school is limited to an approved vendor list for purchases?
A: A basic internet search (especially Dogpile) can usually turn-up some ballpark figures. If you are subject to approved vendor requirements, you may want to add 10% or so to your cost estimates.
   
Q: How specific should the equipment and/or software specifications be in a proposal?
A: When you're specing items for a grant, don't put specific model numbers of equipment or software version numbers except as designations of the MINIMUM level of technology. Reason being, by the time a grant is awarded, there may very well be a newer model, newer release, better brand, better product, etc. Do not limit yourself by specifying something that will quickly become obsolete. Identify items for purchase as "Model XXX or better" or "a minimum of YYY MB hard drive storage and ZZZ MB of RAM" or "the current available release of ..." or similar. You get the idea. :-)
   
Q: Do we have to include an Appendix with our proposal? If so, what all information do we need to include?
A: An appendix is not required. If you have pertinent information beyond the narrative that you feel strongly that the evaluators would need, it may be included as an appendix. DO NOT add ANYTHING to a proposal for the sake of increasing it's volume. The last type of document you would ever want to add 'fluff' to is a proposal. That will get it tossed out in the first round. Everything that goes into a grant proposal should be clear, concise, to the point, and above all, necessary. That is why is it very important to choose your wording carefully. Don't overwrite and don't ramble on, and on, and on. (Kinda like I'm doing here.) You get the point.
   
Q: What if my grant proposal does not lay directly over my tech plan?  Do I need to go back and change that information in the plan? For instance, in my tech plan, I put one phase of the grant in the first year and it actually needs to be in the second year. Also, I listed some software on my tech plan that is not available.  I know these are frameworks and there will be kinks to work out but what about for this class and the work we are doing?  Is it necessary to make these changes now?
A: The fact that this is framework with which you should be able to work from is the key to your answer. As you investigate, collaborate, and refine the direction of technology, the most accurate and current information should be used. So... Use what you know now to be correct in the proposal and make any necessary updates in the Tech Plan when the time comes to revise it for actual implementation. (It doesn't have to be changed for this class.) It makes more sense to me to make the current project as accurate as possible now rather than having to correct both documents later. If you feel the need, you may insert a note in the proposal explaining any discrepancies between it and the tech plan to the evaluator (in this class only, not a funding entity evaluator).
Neither of these documents would nor should proceed further than this class without the involvement of and collaboration with stakeholders. That's not likely to happen during the limited timeframe of this course. I'm just getting you started on the road to funding opportunities.
   
Q: In our evaluation of other students' projects, how do we find Word's Track Changes feature?
A: In Word, pull down "View" and select "Toolbars." Check "Reviewing" and this will open the Track Changes toolbar for you. Hover your pointer over each button on the toolbar for a description of the button. The "Track Changes" button toggles the feature on and off.  Tools -> Track Changes -or- Ctrl+Shift+E will also toggle ON/OFF the Track Changes feature.  The "Insert Comment" button allows you to make a comment tied to where ever you have the cursor at the time you click the button. Play with this feature a few minutes and you will get a feel for how it works. You'll love it once you see what it can do.
   
Q: How would the information we are compiling for the pre-proposal be utilized in a response to a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Application (RFA)?
A: Since this is a framework that could be used to provide information to you during an application process in response to an published Request for Proposal (RFP), it is likely that the information you are compiling now would be dissected and rearranged in order to meet the requirements of the RFP. You would likely use all of this information somewhere, but the RFP may request some of the information be placed in forms while other information may be required in narrative format. Provide exactly what is requested in an RFP, NO MORE, NO LESS!!! <-- Very Important. If you don't follow their rules, they won't be sending you any money!
Regardless of the form in which information is requested, this framework will ensure that it is organized and at your disposal when you receive the call for proposals. Remember, you may only have a few days to respond once you've been notified. This framework should remain a living document that is updated and revised as necessary to reflect current status and needs.
   
Q: Are we there yet?
A: No,
   
  ... more to come.

  rev. June 11, 2006